Clinical Implications of Basilar Artery Plaques in the Pontine Infarction with Normal Basilar Angiogram: A High-Resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2018 Dec;27(12):3591-3598. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2018.08.032. Epub 2018 Sep 12.


Background: Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (HR-MRI), we investigated the impact of basilar artery plaques that were not detected by magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) on the functional outcomes of patients with acute pontine infarction.

Methods: A total of 40 patients with acute pontine infarction and normal basilar findings on MRA prospectively underwent HR-MRI for detection of basilar artery plaques. A relevant plaque was defined as one on the dorsal side of basilar artery, the same side of the ischemic lesion, and the same axial slices of the ischemic lesion. We analyzed the relationship between the relevant basilar artery plaques and the functional outcomes at 3 months.

Results: The initial National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score (3.5 versus 2.0, P = .012), and the incidences of neurological deterioration (42.9% versus 6.3%, P = .031) and unfavorable functional outcome (71.4% versus 12.5%, P = .001) were higher in patients with relevant basilar artery plaques than in those without. On multiple regression analysis, the relevant basilar artery plaque was a significant and independent predictor of unfavorable functional outcome (odds ratio, 6.662; 95% confidence interval, 1.117-39.735; P = .037).

Conclusions: The presence of a relevant basilar artery plaque was closely related with unfavorable functional outcome in patients with acute pontine infarction even if the patients' MRA showed normal basilar findings.

Keywords: Stroke; atherosclerotic plaque; magnetic resonance imaging; prognosis..

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Basilar Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Stem Infarctions / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebral Angiography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pons / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies