Dolichoectasia of the intracranial arteries in patients with first ischemic stroke: a population-based study

Author(s): Ince B, Petty GW, Brown RD Jr, Chu CP, Sicks JD, et al.


Objective:The objective of this study was to estimate the frequency of intracranial arterial dolichoectasia among patients with first ischemic stroke and to compare clinical characteristics, survival, and recurrence in those with and without the abnormality.

Background:Dolichoectasia may cause cerebral infarction by thrombosis, embolism, stenosis, or occlusion of deep penetrating arteries.

Methods:The chi-square, Fisher's exact, and logrank tests were used to compare clinical characteristics, survival, and recurrence for patients with and without dolichoectasia among the 387 residents of Rochester, MN, who had brain CT or MRI for first cerebral infarction from 1985 through 1989.

Results:Twelve patients (3.1%) had dolichoectasia. Patients with dolichoectasia were more likely to have had stroke fitting a clinical and radiographic pattern of lacunar infarction than those without (42% and 17% respectively; p=0.04). Dolichoectasia was detected in the vertebrobasilar system in eight patients (66.7%), in the carotid system in two patients (16.7%), and in both circulatory systems in two patients (16.7%). There were no significant differences in the following characteristics among those with and without dolichoectasia: age, sex, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and preceding transient ischemic attack. Patients with dolichoectasia had better survival (relative risk [RR] for death, 0.26; p=0.04) after first cerebral infarction but higher rates of stroke recurrence (RR, 2.4; p=0.02).

Conclusions:Dolichoectasia is detected in 38 of patients with first cerebral infarction and is associated with better survival but higher rates of stroke recurrence.

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