Objective: To assess the relationship between the degree of leukoaraiosis (LA), carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and intima-media thickness variability (IMTV).
Materials and methods: Sixty-one consecutive patients, who underwent a brain MRI examination and a carotid artery ultrasound, were included in this retrospective study, which conformed with the Declaration of Helsinki. Written informed consent was waived. In each patient, right/left carotid arteries and brain hemispheres were assessed using automated software for IMT, IMTV and LA volume.
Results: The mean hemispheric LA volume was 2,224 mm3 (SD 2,702 mm3) and there was no statistically significant difference in LA volume between the right and left hemispheres (p value = 0.628). The mean IMT and IMTV values were 0.866 mm (SD 0.170) and 0.143 mm (SD 0.100), respectively, without significant differences between the right and left sides (p values 0.733 and 0.098, respectively). The correlation coefficient between IMTV and LA volume was 0.41 (p value = 0.0001), and 0.246 (p value = 0.074) between IMT and LA volume.
Conclusions: IMTV significantly correlates with LA volume. Further studies are warranted to verify whether this parameter can be used clinically as a marker of cerebrovascular risk.
Key points: • Intima-media thickness variability (IMTV) significantly correlates with leukoaraiosis volume. • IMTV could be used as a marker for cerebrovascular risk. • IMTV seems to be a better predictor of weighted mean difference than IMT.
Keywords: Arterial intima; IMT; Leukoaraiosis; MRI; Ultrasound.