Management of covert brain infarction survey: A call to care for and trial this neglected population.

Meinel, Thomas R; Triulzi, Camilla B; Kaesmacher, Johannes; Mujanovic, Adnan; Pasi, Marco; Leung, Lester Y; Kent, David M; Sui, Yi; Seiffge, David; Bücke, Philipp; Umarova, Roza; Arnold, Marcel; Roten, Laurent; Nguyen, Thanh N; Wardlaw, Joanna; Fischer, Urs (2023). Management of covert brain infarction survey: A call to care for and trial this neglected population. European stroke journal, 8(4), pp. 1079-1088. Sage 10.1177/23969873231187444

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Covert brain infarction (CBI) is highly prevalent and linked with stroke risk factors, increased mortality, and morbidity. Evidence to guide management is sparse. We sought to gain information on current practice and attitudes toward CBI and to compare differences in management according to CBI phenotype.


We conducted a web-based, structured, international survey from November 2021 to February 2022 among neurologists and neuroradiologists. The survey captured respondents' baseline characteristics, general approach toward CBI and included two case scenarios designed to evaluate management decisions taken upon incidental detection of an embolic-phenotype and a small-vessel-disease phenotype.


Of 627 respondents (38% vascular neurologists, 24% general neurologists, and 26% neuroradiologists), 362 (58%) had a partial, and 305 (49%) a complete response. Most respondents were university hospital senior faculty members experienced in stroke, mostly from Europe and Asia. Only 66 (18%) of respondents had established institutional written protocols to manage CBI. The majority indicated that they were uncertain regarding useful investigations and further management of CBI patients (median 67 on a slider 0-100, 95% CI 35-81). Almost all respondents (97%) indicated that they would assess vascular risk factors. Although most would investigate and treat similarly to ischemic stroke for both phenotypes, including initiating antithrombotic treatment, there was considerable diagnostic and therapeutic heterogeneity. Less than half of respondents (42%) would assess cognitive function or depression.


There is a high degree of uncertainty and heterogeneity regarding management of two common types of CBI, even among experienced stroke physicians. Respondents were more proactive regarding the diagnostic and therapeutic management than the minimum recommended by current expert opinions. More data are required to guide management of CBI; meantime, more consistent approaches to identification and consistent application of current knowledge, that also consider cognition and mood, would be promising first steps to improve consistency of care.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Cardiovascular Disorders (DHGE) > Clinic of Cardiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Meinel, Thomas Raphael, Triulzi, Camilla Beatrice, Kaesmacher, Johannes, Mujanović, Adnan, Seiffge, David Julian, Bücke, Philipp Jonas, Umarova, Roza, Arnold, Marcel, Roten, Laurent, Fischer, Urs Martin


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

10 Jul 2023 17:05

Last Modified:

25 Nov 2023 00:12

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Covert brain infarction covert cerebrovascular disease silent brain infarction silent cerebrovascular disease survey




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