Distinct association between cerebral arterial pulsatility and subtypes of cerebral small vessel disease

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Background Increased arterial resistance is a potential pathological mechanism of cerebral small vessel disease (cSVD). Aim In this study, we aimed to investigate the association between pulsatility index (PI) representing cerebral arterial resistance and subtypes of cSVD in patients with lacunar stroke. Methods We included consecutive lacunar stroke patients between 2010 and 2013. White matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume was rated using semi-automated quantitative methods. Additionally, the presence of old lacunar infarct (OLI), cerebral microbleed (CMB), or enlarged perivascular space (EPVS) was also evaluated. The relationship between PI, measured in each middle cerebral artery, and the subtype/burden of cSVD was analyzed in the relevant hemisphere. Results A total of 206 lacunar patients were included and 412 hemispheres were analyzed (mean age: 64 years, male: 68.4%). In multivariable analysis, PI was positively associated with the WMH volume [beta = 1.372, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.624 to 2.120, P < 0.001] after adjusting for confounders. PI was also related to the presence of OLI (adjusted odds ratio = 11.37, 95% CI = 2.55–48.56, P = 0.001); however, this relationship was not significant in CMB or EPVS. Regarding the cSVD burden, PI increased according to the WMH tertiles (P for trend < 0.001), the burden of OLI (P for trend < 0.001), and EPVS tertiles (P for trend < 0.001), showing a quantitative relationship. Conclusions Ipsilateral PI is closely associated with cSVD in patients with lacunar stroke. Furthermore, this association is different between subtypes of cSVD, which is suggestive of underlying pathophysiological differences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0236049
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7 July
StatePublished - Jul 2020


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