Differential Impact of Acute Lesions Versus White Matter Hyperintensities on Stroke Recovery

J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 Sep 18;7(18):e009360. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.118.009360.


Background Understanding how the size of acute lesions and white matter hyperintensities ( WMH ) impact stroke recovery can improve our ability to predict outcomes and tailor treatments. The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate the role of acute lesion volume and WMH volume on longitudinal recovery of specific sensory, motor, and cognitive impairments after stroke using robotic and clinical measures. Methods and Results Eighty-two individuals were assessed at 1, 6, 12, and 26 weeks poststroke with robotic tasks and commonly used clinical measures. The volumes of acute lesions and WMH were measured on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images. Linear mixed models were used to investigate the role of acute lesions and WMH on parameters derived from the robotic tasks and clinical measures. Regression analysis determined the added value of acute lesion and WMH volumes along with measures of initial performance to predict outcomes at 6 months. Acute lesion volume has widespread effects on sensory, motor, and overall functional recovery poststroke. The impact of WMH was specific to cognitive impairments. Apart from the robotic position sense task, neither lesion volume nor WMH measure had significant ability to predict outcomes at 6 months over using initial impairment as measured by robotic assessments alone. Conclusions While acute lesion volume and WMH may impact different impairments poststroke, their clinical utility in predicting outcomes at 6 months poststroke is limited.

Keywords: lesion volume; rehabilitation; robotics; stroke recovery; white matter hyperintensities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Stroke / diagnosis*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • White Matter / pathology*
  • Young Adult