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Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2017 Mar 15;57(3):136-143. doi: 10.2176/nmc.oa.2016-0188. Epub 2017 Feb 10.

Leukoaraiosis is Associated with Worse Short-Term Functional and Cognitive Recovery after Minor Stroke.

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Department of Neurology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China.


Whether leukoaraiosis burden retards short-term recovery after minor stroke is unclear. We investigated the association between leukoaraiosis and early recovery of neurological function after a first minor ischemic stroke in 217 acute stroke patients (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score ≤5). Leukoaraiosis severity was graded according to the Fazekas scale and categorized into none to mild (0-2; n = 143) or severe (3-6; n = 74) groups. NIHSS and Minimum Mental State Examination (MMSE) were assessed at baseline and at 30 days. Univariate analysis revealed that the severe leukoaraiosis group was older in age (P < 0.001) and had fewer low MMSE patients than non-mild group at baseline (39.1% vs 55.9%, P = 0.003). However, the MMSE improved in none to mild group but not in the severe group at 30-day (15.4% vs 36.5%, P < 0.001). At 30-day, the severe leukoaraiosis group had higher NIHSS scores than the none-mild group (P = 0.04). Multiple linear regression analyses demonstrated that leukoaraiosis severity and admission NIHSS were independently associated with the NIHSS score on day 30 (P = 0.034, 95% CI 0.004-0.091 and P = 0.001, 95% CI 0.011-0.04). Binary regression analyses showed that leukoaraiosis severity and admission MMSE were significantly associated with MMSE (dichotomized) at 30-day (OR 2.1, P < 0.01, 95% CI 1.7-2.6 and OR 5.1, P < 0.01, 95% CI 2.1-12.8). Leukoaraiosis burden is an independent predictor of worse short-term functional and cognitive recovery after a minor ischemic stroke.

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