Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is an increasingly recognized autosomal dominant disorder that leads to cerebrovascular manifestations in early adulthood. This study delineates the phenotypic spectrum and the natural history of the disease in 102 affected individuals from 29 families with biopsy-proven CADASIL. Recurrent ischemic episodes (transient ischemic attack [TIA] or stroke) were the most frequent presentation found in 71% of the cases (mean age at onset, 46.1 years; range, 30-66 years; SD, 9.0 years). Forty-eight percent of the cases had developed cognitive deficits. Dementia (28%) was frequently accompanied by gait disturbance (90%), urinary incontinence (86%), and pseudobulbar palsy (52%). Thirty-nine patients (38%) had a history of migraine (mean age at onset, 26.0 years; SD, 8.2 years), which was classified as migraine with aura in 87% of the cases. Psychiatric disturbances were present in 30% of the cases, with adjustment disorder (24%) being the most frequent diagnosis. Ten patients (10%) had a history of epileptic seizures. To delineate the functional consequences of ischemic deficits, we studied the extent of disability in different age groups. The full spectrum of disability was seen in all groups older than age 45. Fifty-five percent of the patients older than age 60 were unable to walk without assistance. However, 14% in this age group exhibited no disability at all. Kaplan-Meier analysis disclosed median survival times of 64 years (males) and 69 years (females). An investigation of the 18 multiplex families revealed marked intrafamilial variations.