Background: Intracranial artery calcification is common but the prevalence and determinants are not well established. We aim to describe the prevalence and location of calcification in intracranial arteries according to brain multi-detector-row computed tomography (MDCT) images, and to investigate its correlation with potential risk factors.
Methods: We studied consecutive men and women referred for brain CT in December 2004. All patients received a questionnaire regarding their medical history related to atherosclerosis, including traditional risk factors of atherosclerosis, serum chemistry values and inflammatory markers. All CT examinations were done with a 16-slice MDCT and the severity of intracranial artery calcification was categorized.
Results: Four hundred and ninety patients aged 1.4-101 years (62.92+/-19.04; mean+/-SD) were included in our study. There were 340 patients (69.4%) who had intracranial artery calcification. The highest prevalence of intracranial artery calcification was seen in the internal carotid artery (60%), followed by vertebral artery (20%), middle cerebral artery (5%) and basilar artery (5%). Patients with calcification were significantly older than those without calcification (p<0.001). A significantly higher prevalence of calcification was present among patients with hypertension (p<0.001), diabetes (p<0.001), renal failure (p<0.05), atrial fibrillation (p<0.05), smoking (p<0.05), hyperlipidemia (p<0.001), ischemic heart disease (p<0.05) and ischemic stroke (p<0.001). Mean values of serum phosphate, serum urea and CRP level were also significantly higher in patients with intracranial artery calcification (p<0.05, respectively), and there was a trend that patients with intracranial calcification had a higher white blood cell count (p=0.070). Stepwise multiple logistic regression showed age (RR=2.795 per 10 years), a history of ischemic stroke (RR=3.915), and white blood cell count (RR=1.107) to be independently associated with intracranial artery calcification.
Conclusions: Calcification of the intracranial arteries is associated with age, history of ischemic stroke and white blood cell count. Further prospective studies to investigate the clinical significance of intracranial artery calcification are needed.
Copyright (c) 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.