UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurology; Department of Psychiatry; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Millennium PhD Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Nervous System Diseases | Neurology | Psychiatry


OBJECTIVE: To perform a systematic review and pooled meta-analysis of published studies to assess whether the presence of leukoaraiosis on neuroimaging before treatment with thrombolysis (IV or intra-arterial) is associated with an increased risk of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) or poor functional outcome.

METHODS: We included studies of patients with acute ischemic stroke, treated with IV or intra-arterial thrombolysis, which assessed functional outcome (3-month modified Rankin Scale [mRS]) or sICH in relation to leukoaraiosis on pretreatment neuroimaging (CT or MRI). We used random-effects models to calculate pooled relative risks (RR) of sICH and poor functional outcome (mRS > /= 2) for any vs no leukoaraiosis (using any rating scale) and for no to mild vs moderate to severe leukoaraiosis (using the Van Swieten or Fazekas Schmidt scale).

RESULTS: We identified 15 studies (total n = 6,967). For sICH outcome, the RR was 1.65 (n = 5,551; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.26-2.16, p = 0.001) with an absolute risk (AR) increase of 2.5% for any leukoaraiosis vs none. The RR was 2.4 (n = 4,192; 95% CI 1.83-3.14, p = 0.001) with an AR increase of 6.2% for moderate to severe vs no to mild leukoaraiosis. For poor functional outcome; the RR was 1.30 (n = 3,401; 95% CI 1.19-1.42, p = 0.001) with an AR increase of 15.4% for any leukoaraiosis vs none. The RR was 1.31 (n = 3,659; 95% CI 1.22-1.42, p = 0.001) with an AR increase of 17.5% for moderate to severe vs no to mild leukoaraiosis. No statistical heterogeneity was noted for any of the analyses.

CONCLUSIONS: Leukoaraiosis presence and severity are consistently associated with an increased risk of sICH and poor functional outcome after IV or intra-arterial thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke.

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Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology.

DOI of Published Version



Neurology. 2017 Feb 14;88(7):638-645. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003605. Epub Jan 27 2017. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title



Co-author Nils Henninger is a doctoral student in the Millennium PhD Program (MPP) in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at UMass Medical School.

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Link to Article in PubMed

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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