Cerebral microbleeds and fatigue in stroke

Eur Neurol. 2014;71(5-6):213-6. doi: 10.1159/000354845. Epub 2014 Jan 24.


Background and purpose: Poststroke fatigue (PSF) is a frequent and persistent problem in stroke survivors. The neuroanatomical model of PSF remains unclear. This study examined the association between PSF and cerebral microbleeds (CMBs).

Methods: The sample comprised 199 patients with acute ischemic stroke. A psychiatrist who was blind to the subjects' radiological data administered the Chinese version of the Fatigue Severity Scale. PSF was defined as a Fatigue Severity Scale score of 4.0 or more. The locations of CMBs were evaluated with magnetic resonance imaging within 7 days of admission.

Results: Of the 199 patients screened, 47 (23.6%) had PSF. The PSF group had a higher Geriatric Depression Scale score (p < 0.001) and a trend for a higher age (p = 0.074). The proportion of patients with deep CMBs was significantly higher in the PSF group (66.0 vs. 48.7%; p = 0.038). The presence of deep CMBs was a significant independent predictor of PSF with an odds ratio of 2.68 (p = 0.016).

Conclusion: The results suggest that deep CMBs are associated with a higher risk of PSF. Further studies are needed to clarify whether CMBs affect the clinical presentation, treatment response and outcome of PSF.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / complications*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Fatigue / diagnosis
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Fatigue / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prognosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke / complications*