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BACKGROUND: Cortical microinfarcts (CMIs) have been correlated to cognitive decline and dementia. It was previously considered only visible on microscope, but was recently reported to be visible on 3.0 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and linked to presence of intracranial stenosis. We aimed to investigate CMIs on 3.0 Tesla MRI in patients with M1 middle cerebral artery (MCA-M1) stenosis. METHODS: Patients with a recent non-cardioembolic ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack and an atherosclerotic MCA-M1 stenosis were recruited. The severity of MCA stenosis was defined as moderate (50%-69%) or severe (70%-99% or focal flow void) on time-of-flight MR angiography (MRA). The distal to proximal signal intensity ratio (SIR) of MCA stenosis was measured on time-of-flight MRA to represent its hemodynamic significance. The presence of CMI(s) in the ipsilateral hemisphere was assessed on axial T1- or T2-weighted images and T2-weighted fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery images. RESULTS: Overall, 86 patients (mean age: 62.8 years; 77.9% males) were analyzed, 66 (76.7%) and 20 (23.3%), respectively, having moderate and severe MCA-M1 stenoses. The median SIR was .91. Forty-five (52.3%) patients had ipsilateral CMI(s). Multivariate logistic regression showed a history of dyslipidemia (odds ratio [OR] = 6.83, P = .008), and an SIR lower than the median (OR = 4.73, P = .014) were independently associated with presence of CMI(s) in ipsilateral hemisphere to an MCA-M1 stenosis. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with stroke and intracranial stenosis had a high burden of CMI. Except for a history of dyslipidemia, the hemodynamic significance of the arterial stenosis may contribute to the presence of ipsilateral CMI(s) in these patients, which warrants further investigation in prospective, longitudinal studies.

Original publication




Journal article


J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis

Publication Date





1760 - 1765


Intracranial stenosis cortical microinfarct magnetic resonance imaging stroke