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Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 616572, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/616572
Research Article

Association of Ultrasonographic Parameters with Subclinical White-Matter Hyperintensities in Hypertensive Patients

1Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis, Greece
2Department of Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis, Greece

Received 22 May 2012; Accepted 3 July 2012

Academic Editor: Richard C. Veith

Copyright © 2012 Ioannis Heliopoulos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background and Purpose. Cerebral white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) are regarded as typical MRI expressions of small-vessel disease (SVD) and are common in hypertensive patients. Hypertension induces pathologic changes in macrocirculation and in microcirculation. Changes in microcirculation may lead to SVD of brain and consequently to hypertensive end-organ damage. This damage is regarded the result of interactions between the macrovascular and microvascular levels. We sought to investigate the association of cerebral WMHs with ultrasonographic parameters of cerebral macrocirculation evaluated by carotid duplex ultrasound (CDU) and transcranial doppler (TCD). Subjects and Methods. The study was prospective, cross-sectional and consecutive and included hypertensive patients with brain MRI with WMHs. Patients underwent CDU and TCD. The clinical variables recorded were demographic characteristics (age, gender, race) and vascular risk factors (hypertension, diabetic mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, current smoking, and body mass index). Excluded from the study were patients with history of clinical stroke (including lacunar stroke and hemorrhagic) or transient ischemic attack (either hemispheric or ocular), hemodynamically significant (>50%) extra- or intracranial stenosis, potential sources of cardioembolism, and absent transtemporal windows. WMHs were quantified with the use of a semiquantitative visual rating method. Ultrasound parameters investigated were (1) common carotid artery (CCA) diameter and intima-media thickness, (2) blood flow velocity in the CCA and internal carotid artery (ICA), and (3) blood flow velocity and pulsatility index of middle cerebral artery (MCA). Results. A total of 52 patients fulfilled the study inclusion criteria (mean age years, 54% men, median WMH-score: 20). The only two ultrasound parameters that were independently associated with WMH score in multivariate linear regression models adjusting for demographic characteristics and vascular risk factors were increased mean common carotid artery (CCA) diameter ( , , , %) and increased middle cerebral artery pulsatility index (MCA-PI; , , , %). Among all ultrasound parameters the highest AUC (areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve) were documented for MCA-PI ( , 95% CI = 0.68−0.95, ) and mean CCA diameter ( , 95% CI = 0.67−0.92, ). Conclusions. Our study showed that in hypertensive individuals with brain SVD the extent of structural changes in cerebral microcirculation as reflected by WMHs burden is associated with the following ultrasound parameters of cerebral macrocirculation: CCA diameter and MCA-PI.