Background and purpose: Dementia after first clinical stroke frequently has been found, but the clinical and radiological correlates have not been fully detailed. We examined magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) correlates of dementia in a large well-defined series of patients with first clinical ischemic stroke.
Methods: Detailed medical, neurological and neuropsychological examination was conducted 3 months after ischemic stroke for 273 patients with first clinical stroke from a consecutive series of 486 patients aged 55-85 years. MRI of the head categorised infarcts (type, site, side, number, volume), extent of white matter lesions (WMLs) and degree of atrophy. The DSM-III definition for dementia was used.
Results: Dementia was diagnosed in 79 (28.9%) of the patients with first clinical stroke. Volumes, numbers, distinct sites of infarcts, extent of WMLs and degree of atrophy were different for the demented and nondemented subjects. Logistic regression analysis showed that the correlates of dementia included the combination of infarct features (volume of infarcts in left-sided anterior corona radiata; OR 1.86), extent of WMLs (OR 1. 37), medial temporal lobe atrophy (OR 3.4) and host factors (low education; OR 1.11). The additive effect of having more than one correlate was detected (OR 2.53).
Conclusions: Dementia occurring after first clinical stroke is frequent and not solely due to a single stroke, but contain a combination of infarcts features, extent of WMLs, medial temporal lobe atrophy and host factors reflecting more than one underlying pathology.