Gradient echo (GRE) sequence of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a sensitive tool to detect hemorrhagic transformation (HT) and old cerebral microbleeds (CMBs). Presence of CMBs and prior use of antithrombotics pose a risk of HT in ischemic stroke. We evaluated the association of CMBs and antithrombotic use with resultant HT in acute ischemic stroke (AIS).
This retrospective study included AIS patients admitted to our center between January 2009 and August 2010 who underwent GRE-weighted MRI within 48 h of admission. Demographic and clinical data including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, prior intake of antiplatelets/anticoagulants/statins, and presence of CMBs at admission were collected and compared between patients who developed HT and those who did not. We did a multivariate analysis using logistic regression to assess the effect of CMBs and prior use of antithrombotic agents on the risk of development for early HT in ischemic stroke.
Of 529 AIS patients, 81 (15%) were found to have HT during the initial hospital course. CMBs were found in only 9 of 81 patients (11%) with HT and in 40 out of remaining 448 patients (9%) who did not develop HT. The presence of CMBs was not associated with increased risk of HT ( P = 0.53). However, prior use of antiplatelets (33% vs. 47% in the patients without HT, P = 0.02) was associated with decreased risk of HT in ischemic stroke.