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Quantitative and qualitative MRI evaluation of cerebral small vessel disease in an elderly population: a longitudinal study.

  • Nylander, Ruta1
  • Fahlström, Markus1
  • Rostrup, Egill2
  • Kullberg, Joel1
  • Damangir, Soheil3
  • Ahlström, Håkan1
  • Lind, Lars4
  • Larsson, Elna-Marie1
  • 1 1 Department of Surgical Sciences, Radiology, Uppsala University, Sweden. , (Sweden)
  • 2 2 Functional Imaging Unit, Department of Diagnostics, Glostrup hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. , (Denmark)
  • 3 3 Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. , (Sweden)
  • 4 4 Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden. , (Sweden)
Published Article
Acta radiologica (Stockholm, Sweden : 1987)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
DOI: 10.1177/0284185117727567
PMID: 28814098


Background Cerebral white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), lacunes, and microbleeds are seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in small vessel disease (SVD). Purpose To assess SVD on MRI and its evolution over five years in an elderly population and to investigate whether relative cerebral blood flow (rCBF) at baseline was related to the progression of white matter (WM) lesions. Material and Methods In a population-based study, 406 participants aged 75 years underwent morphological MRI of the brain and 252 of them again at age 80 years. At age 75 years, a perfusion scan was also done. WMHs were evaluated qualitatively (visual scoring) and quantitatively (CASCADE software). Lacunes and microbleeds were counted. Results A significant progression of the WMH score and WMH volume occurred over five years ( P < 0.0001). New lacunes were seen in 10%. Participants with new lacunes at age 80 years showed a more pronounced increase in WMHs (P < 0.0001). Microbleeds were present in 14% at age 75 years. The visual WMH score was significantly associated with the presence of microbleeds ( P < 0.0001). There was no relationship between total WM rCBF and WMH volume at age 75 years, and no significant associations between regional or total rCBF at age 75 years and changes in WMH volume over five years. The total WM and GM volume decreased significantly between the ages of 75 and 80 years ( P < 0.0001). Conclusion MRI manifestations of SVD progressed over five years in an elderly population (age range = 75-80 years). rCBF was not associated with WMH volume or progression of WMH volume.

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