Associations of Radiographic Cerebral Small Vessel Disease with Acute Intracerebral Hemorrhage Volume, Hematoma Expansion, and Intraventricular Hemorrhage

NCJ_cover.pngBy Simone M. Uniken Venema, Sandro Marini, H. Bart Brouwers, Andrea Morotti, Daniel Woo, Christopher D. Anderson, Jonathan Rosand

First Online: 16 December 2019

Background and Objective
The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of radiographic cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) on the severity of acute intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) as measured by: ICH volume, hematoma expansion, and extension of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH).

CSVD was determined on baseline computed tomography (CT) scans of patients from the Ethnic and Racial Variations of Intracerebral Hemorrhage study through the extent of leukoaraiosis and cerebral atrophy using visual rating scales. The associations of leukoaraiosis and atrophy with ICH volume, hematoma expansion, IVH presence, and severity of IVH were tested using multivariable regression models. Secondary analyses were stratified by hemorrhage location. Bonferroni correction was applied to correct for multiple testing.

A total of 2579 patients (mean age 61.7 years, 59% male) met inclusion criteria. Median ICH volume was 10.5 (Interquartile range [IQR] 4.0–25.3) mL. IVH was detected in 971 patients (38%). Neither leukoaraiosis nor atrophy was associated with hematoma expansion. Increasing grades of leukoaraiosis were associated with increased risk of IVH in a dose-dependent manner, while cerebral atrophy was inversely associated with IVH (both P for trend < 0.001). Increasing grades of global atrophy were dose-dependently associated with lower ICH volumes (ß (95% Confidence Interval [CI]) − 0.30[− 0.46, − 0.14], − 0.33[− 0.49, − 0.17], − 0.40[− 0.60, − 0.20], and − 0.54[− 0.76, − 0.32], for grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 compared to 0; all P < 0.001). The associations of leukoaraiosis with ICH volume were consistent with those of atrophy, albeit not meeting statistical significance.

Leukoaraiosis and cerebral atrophy appear to have opposing associations with ICH severity. Cerebral atrophy correlates with smaller ICH volume and decreased risk and severity of IVH, while leukoaraiosis is associated with increased risk of IVH. Whether these observations reflect overlapping or divergent underlying mechanisms requires further study.

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