Antiplatelet therapy as a risk factor for microbleeds in intracerebral hemorrhage patients: analysis using specific antiplatelet agents

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2013 Aug;22(6):834-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2012.06.001. Epub 2012 Jul 10.


Background: Although brain microbleed has been reported to be a risk factor for antiplatelet-associated intracerebral hemorrhage, data on the use of specific antiplatelet agents are lacking. In this study, we examined the associations between specific antiplatelets and brain microbleeds in order to help select antiplatelet agents in patients with microbleeds.

Methods: We evaluated 1914 consecutive acute stroke patients, including 412 patients with intracerebral hemorrhage and 1502 patients with ischemic stroke. The associations between the presence of microbleeds and antiplatelet use were evaluated, including specific antiplatelet agents (aspirin, clopidogrel, cilostazol, and ticlopidine).

Results: Antiplatelet use was associated with the presence of microbleeds in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (odds ratio [OR] 2.418; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.236-4.730; P = .0099), but not in patients with ischemic stroke. The use of a single antiplatelet medication was not associated with the presence of microbleeds. In patients with intracerebral hemorrhage, aspirin (OR 2.160; 95% CI 1.050-4.443; P = .0364) but not clopidogrel, cilostazol, or ticlopidine was associated with microbleeds. In these patients, dividing brain microbleeds into deep microbleeds and lobar microbleeds revealed an association only between antiplatelet use and the presence of deep microbleeds (OR 2.397; 95% CI 1.258-4.567; P = .0079). None of the antiplatelet agents were associated with the presence of deep microbleeds, although aspirin had a trend of association (OR 1.986; 95% CI 1.000-3.946; P = .0501).

Conclusions: Attention to microbleed-positive patients is necessary for the safe use of aspirin in order to avoid antiplatelet-associated hemorrhages, but prospective studies are needed to verify our results.

Keywords: Antiplatelet agents; intracerebral hemorrhage; microbleeds.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / etiology*


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors