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Acta Radiol. 2015 Mar;56(3):329-38. doi: 10.1177/0284185114524198. Epub 2014 Feb 20.

High incidence of asymptomatic cerebral microbleeds in patients with hemorrhagic onset-type moyamoya disease: a phase-sensitive MRI study and meta-analysis.

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  • 1Division of Radiology, Department of Pathophysiological Therapeutic Science, Tottori University, Yonago, Japan.
  • 2Division of Radiology, Department of Pathophysiological Therapeutic Science, Tottori University, Yonago, Japan
  • 3Department of Neurological Sciences, Division of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University, Yonago, Japan.



Moyamoya disease is a relatively rare cerebrovascular occlusive disorder. Several studies have reported cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) in moyamoya disease patients using T2*-weighted imaging (T2*WI) and/or susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI).


To investigate the incidence, distribution patterns, and influencing factors of asymptomatic CMBs in patients with moyamoya disease.


Phase-sensitive imaging (PSI) was used to investigate 27 consecutive moyamoya disease patients with a 3-T magnetic resonance imaging system, then a meta-analysis of 245 patients (asymptomatic moyamoya disease, n = 23; ischemic moyamoya disease, n = 161; hemorrhagic moyamoya disease, n = 61) from four previous individual studies and our PSI study was performed. The meta-analysis was performed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Based on the clinical and radiological data, we divided the studies into different model groups to calculate the incidence of CMBs and discuss the distribution patterns of CMBs.


Thirty-five asymptomatic CMBs were demonstrated in 14 moyamoya disease patients (51.9%) in our PSI study. Of these, 45.7% were located in the periventricular white matter. In the meta-analysis, the pooled incidence of asymptomatic CMBs in moyamoya disease was 46% (95% confidence interval [CI], 28.2-63.8%) on SWI or PSI and 29.6% (95% CI, 17.4-41.7%) on T2*WI. Statistical analysis showed that PSI or SWI offered better detection of CMBs in moyamoya disease than T2*WI, and 3-T T2*WI offered better detection than 1.5-T T2*WI. Furthermore, hemorrhagic onset-type moyamoya disease correlated with a high incidence of asymptomatic CMBs.


PSI or SWI can detect CMBs better than T2*WI, and 3-T T2*WI. Hemorrhagic onset-type moyamoya disease seems to correlate with a high incidence of asymptomatic CMBs. The meta-analysis indicates that asymptomatic CMBs may be an important factor for hemorrhagic stroke risk. Long-term evaluation of CMBs using PSI or SWI may contribute to the management of moyamoya disease.

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Moyamoya disease; T2*-weighted imaging (T2*WI); cerebral microbleeds; phase-sensitive imaging (PSI); susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI)

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