Background and Purpose
Does progression of MRI-defined vascular disease predict subsequent vascular events in the elderly?
The Cardiovascular Health Study, a longitudinal cohort study of vascular disease in the elderly, allows the question to be answered because its participants had two MRI scans about five years apart and have been followed for about 9 years since the follow-up scan for incident vascular events.
Both MRI-defined incident infarcts and worsened white matter grade (WMG) were significantly associated with heart failure (HF), stroke and death but not transient ischemic attacks, angina, or myocardial infarction. Strongest associations occurred when both incident infarcts and worsened WMG were present: for HF, hazard ratio 1.79 (95% confidence interval 1.18–2.73); for stroke, 2.58 (1.53–4.36); for death, 1.69 (1.28–2.24); and for cardiovascular death 1.97 (1.24–3.14).
Progression of MRI-defined vascular disease identifies elderly people at increased risk of subsequent HF, stroke, and death. Whether aggressive risk factor management would reduce risk is unknown.
Keywords: MRI, brain infarction, leukoaraiosis, stroke, death