Neuroimaging features of antiphospholipid antibody-related stroke compared with atrial fibrillation-related stroke

Wookjin Yang, Dong Wan Kang, Jeong Min Kim, Keun Hwa Jung, Seung Hoon Lee

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Recognizing the lesion pattern of antiphospholipid antibody-related stroke (aPL-stroke) may contribute to establishing the cause in patients with cryptogenic stroke. We aimed to describe the neuroimaging features of aPL-stroke compared with atrial fibrillation-related stroke (AF-stroke), a major hidden cause of cryptogenic stroke. Using a prospective stroke registry, we identified consecutive aPL- and AF-stroke patients without other potential causes of stroke. Neuroimaging features based on diffusion-weighted imaging and angiographic findings at admission were compared. A total of 56 and 333 patients were included in the aPL- and AF-stroke groups, respectively. aPL-stroke patients more often presented with single small lesions (aPL-stroke, 30.4% vs. AF-stroke, 7.5%, p < 0.001), while the predominant pattern in AF-stroke patients was large territorial lesions (26.8% vs. 56.5%, p < 0.001). aPL-stroke patients had smaller infarct volume (1.58 mL [0.45; 9.41] vs. 11.32 mL [2.82; 33.08], p < 0.001) and less experience of relevant artery occlusion (17.9% vs. 54.7%, p < 0.001). The proportion of multi-territory lesions, an embolic pattern, was similar between the two groups (28.6% vs. 22.8%, p = 0.44). In comparison only including patients with multi-territory lesions as well, aPL-stroke patients showed small lesion dominance and smaller infarct volume. Multivariate analyses showed independent associations between mild neuroimaging features (small lesion prevalence, smaller infarct volume, and absence of relevant artery occlusion) and aPL-stroke. Patterns of small lesion prevalence, small infarct volume, and absence of relevant artery occlusion were suggestive of aPL-stroke rather than AF-stroke. Cryptogenic stroke patients with such neuroimaging features may benefit from aPL testing for a precise diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11686
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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