Introduction: The objective of our study was to determine whether the combination of hypointense spots ("cerebral microbleeds," CMBs) with a leukoaraiosis is associated with the risk of parenchymal hematoma (PH) after thrombolytic therapy.
Patients and methods: We analyzed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans acquired within 6 hours after symptom onset from 100 ischemic stroke patients. Multiparametric MRI including a T2*-weighted (T2*w) MRI and fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) was performed before thrombolysis in all patients. Initial T2*w imaging was rated by two independent observers for the presence of CMBs smaller than 5 mm. White matter changes were evaluated using an adapted scale of Fazekas and Schmidt. PH was defined in follow-up imaging.
Findings: A PH was observed in seven per 100 patients. CMBs were detected by observer 1 in 22 and observer 2 in 20 patients. We found a very low sensitivity (0.14) for prediction of PH by the presence of CMBs. We found a concordant increase in the rate of PH when the periventricular hyperintensity in FLAIR was larger than a thin lining. Sensitivity was good-to-perfect (0.86 and 1.00, observers 1 and 2) and specificity was substantial (0.65 and 0.66). Using the combination of a periventricular matter lesion (PVML)>1 and the presence of CMBs did not improve the prediction of PH.
Discussion: A marked periventricular hyperintensity in FLAIR imaging seems to be associated with a substantially increased risk of PH. A combination of CMBs with leukoaraiosis scores did not appear to be beneficial for prognosis.