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Thein SS, Hamidon BB, Teh HS, Raymond AA
Correspondence: Dr Teh Hiok Seng, email@example.com
Introduction Leukoaraiosis (LA) is a term that defines an abnormal appearance of the subcortical white matter of the brain on neuroimaging. This study was done to evaluate the predictive value of LA in terms of mortality, disability and cognitive decline at three months post-stroke and also to identify the risk factors that are independently associated with LA in a stroke population.
Methods This was a prospective observational study of all patients with acute ischaemic stroke who were admitted to Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia from June to November 2004. A single observer using the pre-defined diagnostic criteria recorded the information on demography, Barthel Index and mini-mental state examination. LA was diagnosed on brain computed tomography alone.
Results 60 patients were recruited into the study. Three patients (five percent) died and LA was present in 29 patients (48 percent). There was no significant association between LA and mortality (p-value equals 0.89). The independent risk factors that were associated with LA were age (odds-ratio [OR] 4.43; 95 percent confidence interval [CI] 1.28-15.27) and hypertension (OR 14.3; 95 percent CI 1.40-147.42). There was a significant association between LA with early dementia (OR 3.53; 95 percent CI 1.19-10.49). However, LA did not significantly predict any functional disability (Barthel Index is less than 60) in the study population (p-value equals 0.45).
Conclusion Development of LA correlates significantly with ageing and hypertension. The presence of LA can also predict early cognitive dysfunction but is not associated with functional disability at three months post-stroke.
Keywords: brain imaging, computed tomography, hypertension, ischaemic stroke, leukoariosis, stroke risk factors
Singapore Med J 2007; 48(5): 396–399