Predicting symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage versus lacunar disease in patients with longstanding hypertension

Elisabeth B. Marsh, Rebecca F. Gottesman, Argye E. Hillis, Joyce Maygers, Erin Lawrence, Rafael H. Llinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Hypertension results in a spectrum of subcortical cerebrovascular disease. It is unclear why some individuals develop ischemia and others develop hemorrhage. Risk factors may differ for each population. We identify factors that predispose an individual to subcortical symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) compared with ischemia. METHODS-: Demographic and laboratory data were prospectively collected for hypertensive patients presenting with ischemic stroke or sICH during an 8.5-year period. Neuroimaging was retrospectively reviewed for acute (subcortical lacunes [<2.0 cm] versus subcortical sICH) and chronic (periventricular white matter disease and cerebral microbleeds) findings. We evaluated the impact of age, race, sex, serum creatinine, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, low-density lipoprotein, presence of periventricular white matter disease or cerebral microbleeds, and other factors on the risk of sICH versus acute lacune using multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS-: Five hundred seventy-one patients had subcortical pathology. The presence of cerebral microbleeds (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 3.39; confidence interval [CI], 2.09-5.50) was a strong predictor of sICH, whereas severe periventricular white matter disease predicted ischemia (OR, 0.56 risk of sICH; CI, 0.32-0.98). This association was strengthened when the number of microbleeds was evaluated; subjects with >5 microbleeds had an increased risk of sICH (OR, 4.11; CI, 1.96-8.59). It remained significant when individuals with only cortical microbleeds were removed (OR, 1.77, CI, 1.13-2.76). An elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (OR, 1.19 per 10 mm/h increase; CI, 1.06-1.34) was significantly associated with sICH, whereas low-density lipoprotein was associated with ischemic infarct (OR, 0.93 risk of sICH per 10 mg/dL increase; CI, 0.86-0.99). CONCLUSIONS-: Subclinical pathology is the strongest predictor of the nature of subsequent symptomatic event. Low-density lipoprotein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate may also have a role in risk stratification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1679-1683
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • cerebral hemorrhage
  • hypertension
  • inflammation
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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