Object: The apolipoprotein E-epsilon4 (APOE-epsilon4) allele is associated with poor outcome after head injury and spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (SICH). The aims of this study were to determine if patients in whom one or more APOE-epsilon4 alleles are present are more likely to sustain intracranial mass lesions after head injury and to determine whether there is an isoform-specific effect on the size of the intracranial hematoma.
Methods: The authors performed a computerized volumetric analysis of 142 hematomas visible on computerized tomography (CT) scans obtained in 129 patients. The APOE genotype was determined by subjecting buccal smear samples to polymerase chain reaction and restriction enzyme digestion. Allele frequencies were similar in head-injured patients with and without intracranial hematomas (p = 0.36). Univariate analysis revealed that in those patients with one or more APOE-epsilon4 alleles hematoma volume was greater (cube root-transformed values) than that found in patients without the APOE-epsilon4 allele (3.1 cm compared with 2.5 cm, p = 0.0039). The results of univariate analysis also suggested significant effects of patient age, injury severity (mild, moderate, or severe according to admission Glasgow Coma Scale scores) and hematoma location (extraaxial, intraaxial, or both) on hematoma volume. The mechanism of injury (assault, fall, or other) was marginally associated with hematoma volume (p = 0.052). Time from injury to CT scan, hypoxia, and hypotension had no significant effect on hematoma volume. The results of multiple linear regression analysis showed that the presence of an APOE-epsilon4 allele and an extraaxial hematoma location were independent predictors of hematoma volume, after adjusting for patient age, hours between injury and CT scan, injury severity, and injury mechanism.
Conclusions: Larger hematomas were found in head-injured patients with one or more APOE-epsilon4 alleles than in patients without the allele. This may contribute to the poorer outcomes observed in these patients.