Leukoaraiosis predicts poor 90-day outcome after acute large cerebral artery occlusion

Nils Henninger, Eugene Lin, Stephen P. Baker, Ajay K. Wakhloo, Deepak Takhtani, Majaz Moonis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Background: To date limited information regarding outcome-modifying factors in patients with acute intracranial large artery occlusion (ILAO) in the anterior circulation is available. Leukoaraiosis (LA) is a common finding among patients with ischemic stroke and has been associated with poor post-stroke outcomes but its association with ILAO remains poorly characterized. This study sought to clarify the contribution of baseline LA and other common risk factors to 90-day outcome (modified Rankin Scale, mRS) after stroke due to acute anterior circulation ILAO. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 1,153 consecutive patients with imaging-confirmed ischemic stroke during a 4-year period (2007-2010) at a single academic institution. The final study cohort included 87 patients with acute ILAO subjected to multimodal CT imaging within 24 h of symptom onset. LA severity was assessed using the van Swieten scale on non-contrast CT. Leptomeningeal collaterals were graded using CT angiogram source images. Hemorrhagic transformation (HT) was determined on follow-up CT. Multivariate logistic regression controlling for HT, treatment modality, demographic, as well as baseline clinical and imaging characteristics was used to identify independent predictors of a poor outcome (90-day mRS >2). Results: The median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) at baseline was 15 (interquartile range 9-21). Twenty-four percent of the studied patients had severe LA. They were more likely to have hypertension (p = 0.028), coronary artery disease (p = 0.015), poor collaterals (p < 0.001), higher baseline NIHSS (p = 0.003), higher mRS at 90 days (p < 0.001), and were older (p = 0.002). Patients with severe LA had a uniformly poor outcome (p < 0.001) irrespective of treatment modality. Poor outcome was independently associated with higher baseline NIHSS (p < 0.001), worse LA (graded and dichotomized, p < 0.001), reduced leptomeningeal collaterals (graded and dichotomized, p < 0.001), presence of HT (p < 0.001), presence of parenchymal hemorrhages (p = 0.01), baseline mRS (p = 0.002), and older age (p = 0.043). The association between severe LA (p = 0.0056; OR 13.86; 95% CI 1.94-∞) and baseline NIHSS (p = 0.0001; OR 5.11; 95% CI 2.07-14.49 for each 10-point increase) with poor outcome maintained after adjustment for confounders in the final regression model. In this model, there was no significant association between presence of HT and poor outcome (p = 0.0572). Conclusion: Coexisting LA may predict poor functional outcome in patients with acute anterior circulation ILAO independent of other known important outcome predictors such as comorbid state, admission functional deficit, collateral status, hemorrhagic conversion, and treatment modality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-531
Number of pages7
JournalCerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute stroke
  • CT
  • Leukoaraiosis
  • Outcome
  • Thrombolysis
  • Tissue plasminogen activator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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