Purpose: To investigate whether clinical and neuropsychological impairment in cerebral small-vessel disease (CSVD) can be evaluated by means of morphological magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Materials and methods: MRI at 3 Tesla in T2- and T1-weighted sequences was evaluated in 44 patients with cerebral microangiopathy, and 30 patients with combined cerebral micro- and macroangiopathy. The MR characteristics were correlated to clinical data, attentional impairment, and the patients' individual vascular risk factor profiles. Fifteen healthy age-matched control subjects participated in the study to assess MR signal changes in nonhypertensive elderly subjects.
Results: Patients and normal controls differed significantly in the extent of MR signal changes. A close relation between age, obesity, hypertension, and MR signal abnormalities was evident in all patients. Patients with pure CSVD additionally showed an association between their MR-defined severity of disease and their degree of neurological impairment, and their vascular risk score. In contrast, attentional impairment did not relate to the MR-defined severity of CSVD.
Conclusion: MR signal changes in CSVD show a close relationship to some risk factors of individual patients.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.