Prevalence and Risk Factors of Cerebral Small Vessel Disease in a Chinese Population-Based Sample

J Stroke. 2018 May;20(2):239-246. doi: 10.5853/jos.2017.02110. Epub 2018 May 31.


Background and purpose: Epidemiological data of cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) in the general population of China are lacking. We report on the prevalence of lacunes, white matter hyperintensity (WMH), and cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) in a community-based sample in China and compare the results with those of other studies.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional analysis of the population-based Shunyi Study in China. A total of 1,211 stroke-free participants (mean age, 55.6±9.3 years; 37.4% men) with available 3 Tesla (3T) magnetic resonance images were included in this analysis. Demographic information and risk factor data were assessed. The overall and age-specific prevalence of lacunes, WMH, and CMBs was evaluated. Associations between cardiovascular risk factors and the presence of these lesions were analyzed by multiple logistic regression.

Results: Our study showed a prevalence of 14.5% for lacunes, 72.1% for periventricular hyperintensity (PVH), 65.4% for deep white matter hyperintensity (DWMH), and 10.6% for CMBs. When compared with other community-based samples, individuals in the same age group showed a higher burden of lacunes and a relatively lower prevalence of CMBs. Advanced age was independently associated with the prevalence of these CSVD markers, while the presence of hypertension increased the risk of lacunes, PVH/DWMH, and CMBs in deep or infratentorial locations.

Conclusions: A higher burden of lacunes but a relatively lower prevalence of CMBs was observed in this Chinese population. This notable result highlights the challenge of CSVD prevention in China. Chinese have a risk factor profile for CSVD similar to those in other populations.

Keywords: Cerebral small vessel disease; China; Cross-sectional studies; Prevalence; Risk factors.