Cerebral white matter lesions are associated with the risk of stroke but not with other vascular events: the 3-City Dijon Study

Stroke. 2009 Jul;40(7):2327-31. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.109.548222. Epub 2009 May 14.


Background and purpose: White matter lesions (WMLs) have been shown to be associated with the risk of stroke in previous studies but little is known about the prediction of other vascular events. We evaluated the risk of stroke and other vascular events according to WML volume in a large population-based sample. We also studied WML volume by type (deep or periventricular) in relation to these events.

Methods: The 3-City Study is a population-based prospective cohort of people aged >or=65 years followed up for, on average, 4.9 years. Among them, 1643 participants free of prevalent vascular events had quantitative measurements of WML volume at baseline using a fully automatic method. The risks of incident major vascular events according to WML volume were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models.

Results: The risk of incident stroke significantly increased with increasing baseline WML volume and was multiplied by 5 for those in the highest quartile of WML volume. Nonstroke vascular events' incidence was not associated with WML volumes, whatever their type.

Conclusions: WMLs are an independent predictor of stroke in the elderly. This association is specific because WMLs are not associated with the risk of other vascular events.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Diseases / complications*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / embryology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*