Background: It remains unknown whether the prevalence of silent lacunar infarcts increases as renal function declines or what factors known as atherosclerotic risk factors are related to the development of lacunar infarcts.
Methods: Fifty-one patients with chronic kidney disease without diabetes mellitus and 80 patients with essential hypertension with normal renal function were included in the study. The existence of lacunar infarcts was evaluated on brain magnetic resonance imaging scans. We evaluated the severity of carotid atherosclerosis by means of intima-media thickness of 1.0 mm or greater height in bilateral carotid arteries and by affecting factors, including plasma homocysteine levels.
Results: Lacunae prevalence was 25% in patients with a creatinine clearance (Ccr) greater than 40 mL/min/1.73 m2, 85% in patients with a Ccr less than 40 mL/min/1.73 m2, and 29% in patients with essential hypertension with normal renal function. Patients with lacunae had significantly lower hematocrits associated with increased fibrinogen and lipoprotein(a) levels compared with those without lacunae. Plasma total homocysteine and insulin levels at 2 hours after a 75-g glucose tolerance test correlated significantly with lacunae. Ischemic heart changes shown by electrocardiogram and thickened carotid intima-media thickness were significantly more frequent in patients with lacunae. However, logistic regression analysis showed that the most strongly contributing factor for lacunar infarcts was decline in Ccr (confidence interval, 0.933 to 0.995; P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Decreased renal function, even without diabetes mellitus, is a risk factor for silent lacunar infarcts.