Basilar Artery Diameter Is an Independent Predictor of Incident Cardiovascular Events
Objective—Basilar arterial (BA) dolichoectasia is associated with cerebral small-vessel disease and stroke. However, the association between moderate dilation of the BA and cerebral small-vessel disease or subsequent cardiovascular events remains unclear. This study aims to clarify the factors related to BA diameter and to clarify whether the BA diameter is an independent predictor of cardiovascular events.
Approach and Results—The study subjects comprised 493 outpatients with atherosclerotic risk factors. BA diameter, lacunar infarct, severity of deep white matter hyperintensities, and intracranial steno-occlusive lesions were assessed with MRI and magnetic resonance angiography. Then, we prospectively evaluated the association between BA diameter and cardiovascular events. The BA diameter ranged from 1.1 to 5.2 mm, and only 0.8% of the patients had dolichoectasia. Male sex, the presence of lacunar infarcts, the severity of deep white matter hyperintensities, the fetal-type variation of the circle of Willis, and intracranial steno-occlusive lesions were independently associated with BA diameter. In the mean follow-up of 6.0 years, 91 patients developed cardiovascular events. BA diameter was independently associated with total cardiovascular events after adjusting for age, sex, and conventional risk factors (hazard ratio, 1.55 per 1 mm increase in BA diameter; P=0.009).
Conclusions—Increased BA diameter within the normal range is related to both large-vessel disease and cerebral small-vessel disease, and it could be a new predictor of cardiovascular events.
- cardiovascular diseases
- cerebral small-vessel disease
- magnetic resonance imaging
- vertebrobasilar insufficiency
- Received October 30, 2012.
- Accepted April 29, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.