Post-stroke Cognition at 1 and 3 Years Is Influenced by the Location of White Matter Hyperintensities in Patients With Lacunar Stroke

Front Neurol. 2021 Mar 1;12:634460. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.634460. eCollection 2021.


Lacunar strokes are a common type of ischemic stroke. They are known to have long-term cognitive deficits, but the influencing factors are still largely unknown. We investigated if the location of the index lacunar stroke or regional WMH and their change at 1 year could predict the cognitive performance at 1 and 3 years post-stroke in lacunar stroke patients. We used lacunar lesion location and WMH-segmented data from 118 patients, mean age 64.9 who had a brain MRI scan soon after presenting with symptoms, of which 88 had a repeated scan 12 months later. Premorbid intelligence (National Adult Reading Test) and current intelligence [Addenbrooke's Cognitive Exam-Revised (ACE-R)] were measured at 1, 12, and 36 months after the stroke. ANCOVA analyses adjusting for baseline cognition/premorbid intelligence, vascular risk factors, age, sex and total baseline WMH volume found that the recent small subcortical infarcts (RSSI) in the internal/external capsule/lentiform nucleus and centrum semiovale did not predict cognitive scores at 12 and 36 months. However, RSSI location moderated voxel-based associations of WMH change from baseline to 1 year with cognitive scores at 1 and 3 years. WMH increase in the external capsule, intersection between the anterior limb of the internal and external capsules, and optical radiation, was associated with worsening of ACE-R scores 1 and 3 years post-stroke after accounting for the location of the index infarct, age and baseline cognition.

Keywords: cognition; lacunar; recent small subcortical infarct; stroke; white matter hyperintensities.