Effects of White Matter Hyperintensities on 90-Day Functional Outcome after Large Vessel and Non-Large Vessel Stroke

Christoph Johannes Griessenauer, David McPherson, Andrea Berger, Ping Cuiper, Nelson Sofoluke, Matthew D. Adams, Saran Kunaprayoon, Ramin Zand, Jiang Li, Vida Abedi, Oded Goren, Clemens M. Schirmer, Kathleen Donahue, Marco Nardin, Anne Karin Giese, Markus D. Schirmer, Natalia S. Rost, Philipp Hendrix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: White matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden is a critically important cerebrovascular phenotype related to the diagnosis and prognosis of acute ischemic stroke. The effect of WMH burden on functional outcome in large vessel occlusion (LVO) stroke has only been sparsely assessed, and direct LVO and non-LVO comparisons are currently lacking. Material and Methods: We reviewed acute ischemic stroke patients admitted between 2009 and 2017 at a large healthcare system in the USA. Patients with LVO were identified and clinical characteristics, including 90-day functional outcomes, were assessed. Clinical brain MRIs obtained at the time of the stroke underwent quantification of WMH using a fully automated algorithm. The pipeline incorporated automated brain extraction, intensity normalization, and WMH segmentation. Results: A total of 1,601 acute ischemic strokes with documented 90-day mRS were identified, including 353 (22%) with LVO. Among those strokes, WMH volume was available in 1,285 (80.3%) who had a brain MRI suitable for WMH quantification. Increasing WMH volume from 0 to 4 mL, age, female gender, a number of stroke risk factors, presence of LVO, and higher NIHSS at presentation all decreased the odds for a favorable outcome. Increasing WMH above 4 mL, however, was not associated with decreasing odds of favorable outcome. While WMH volume was associated with functional outcome in non-LVO stroke (p = 0.0009), this association between WMH and functional status was not statistically significant in the complete case multivariable model of LVO stroke (p = 0.0637). Conclusion: The burden of WMH has effects on 90-day functional outcome after LVO and non-LVO strokes. Particularly, increases from no measurable WMH to 4 mL of WMH correlate strongly with the outcome. Whether this relationship of increasing WMH to worse outcome is more pronounced in non-LVO than LVO strokes deserves additional investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-426
Number of pages8
JournalCerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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