Research Article: Progression of White Matter Hyperintensities Contributes to Lacunar Infarction

Date Published: June 1, 2018

Publisher: JKL International LLC

Author(s): Xin Xu, Yuanyuan Gao, Renyuan Liu, Lai Qian, Yan Chen, Xiaoying Wang, Yun Xu.


Both white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) and lacunar infarctions (LIs) are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). However, the association between WMH and LI remains unclear. In this study, we asked whether WMH progression is related to LI occurrence using retrospective data. Overall, 8475 WMH patients with at least two MRI images were screened, and 187 patients were included in the final study; 76 patients had WMH with LI (WL), and 111 patients had WMH without LI (WOL). The 187 patients were divided into three groups according to WMH progression: Group 1 (no progression), Group 2 (0-53.64% WMH progression) and Group 3 (≥53.64% WMH progression). We found that both WMH volumes and Fazekas scores were higher in WL patients compared with those in WOL patients according to the 1st and 2nd MRI images (P<0.001), whereas WMH progression was not significantly different between these two groups (P>0.05). Importantly, we found that the occurrence rates for LI were increased in Groups 2 and 3 compared with those in Group 1. Multiple logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the risk of LI occurrence was significantly increased in Group 2 versus that in Group 1 (odds ratio, 3.36; 95% CI, 1.48 to 7.67; P=0.004) after adjusting for the baseline patient characteristics and the interval between the two MRI scans. Additionally, with a stratification time of less than 24 months, the risk of LI occurrence was higher in Group 2 versus that in Group 1, after adjusting for baseline confounding factors (odds ratio, 3.68; 95% CI, 1.51 to 8.99; P=0.004). In conclusion, we found that WMH progression was significantly associated with LI occurrence, particularly within the first two years, and that this progression could serve as an independent indicator of LI development.

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