Prevalence of Clinical and Neuroimaging Markers in Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Stroke. 2022 Jun;53(6):1944-1953. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.035836. Epub 2022 Mar 10.


Background: Limited data exist regarding the prevalence of clinical and neuroimaging manifestations among patients diagnosed with cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). We sought to determine the prevalence of clinical phenotypes and radiological markers in patients with CAA.

Methods: Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies including patients with CAA was conducted to primarily assess the prevalence of clinical phenotypes and neuroimaging markers as available in the included studies. Sensitivity analyses were performed based on the (1) retrospective or prospective study design and (2) probable or unspecified CAA status. We pooled the prevalence rates using random-effects models and assessed the heterogeneity using the Cochran Q and I2 statistics.

Results: We identified 12 prospective and 34 retrospective studies including 7159 patients with CAA. The pooled prevalence rates were cerebral microbleeds (52% [95% CI, 43%-60%]; I2=93%), cortical superficial siderosis (49% [95% CI, 38%-59%]; I2=95%), dementia or mild cognitive impairment (50% [95% CI, 35%-65%]; I2=97%), intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH; 44% [95% CI, 27%-61%]; I2=98%), transient focal neurological episodes (48%; 10 studies [95% CI, 29%-67%]; I2=97%), lacunar infarcts (30% [95% CI, 25%-36%]; I2=78%), high grades of perivascular spaces located in centrum semiovale (56% [95% CI, 44%-67%]; I2=88%) and basal ganglia (21% [95% CI, 2%-51%]; I2=98%), and white matter hyperintensities with moderate or severe Fazekas score (53% [95% CI, 40%-65%]; I2=91%). The only neuroimaging marker that was associated with higher odds of recurrent ICH was cortical superficial siderosis (odds ratio, 1.57 [95% CI, 1.01-2.46]; I2=47%). Sensitivity analyses demonstrated a higher prevalence of ICH (53% versus 16%; P=0.03) and transient focal neurological episodes (57% versus 17%; P=0.03) among retrospective studies compared with prospective studies. No difference was documented between the prevalence rates based on the CAA status.

Conclusions: Approximately one-half of hospital-based cohort of CAA patients was observed to have cerebral microbleeds, cortical superficial siderosis, mild cognitive impairment, dementia, ICH, or transient focal neurological episodes. Cortical superficial siderosis was the only neuroimaging marker that was associated with higher odds of ICH recurrence. Future population-based studies among well-defined CAA cohorts are warranted to corroborate our findings.

Keywords: cerebral amyloid angiopathy; cerebral hemorrhage; dementia; prevalence; recurrence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy* / complications
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy* / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / complications
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Dementia* / complications
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neuroimaging
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Siderosis* / complications