Prevalence of potential retrograde embolization pathways in the proximal descending aorta in stroke patients and controls.

Wehrum, Thomas; Kams, Miriam; Strecker, Christoph; Dragonu, Iulius; Günther, Felix; Geibel, Annette; Drexl, Johann; Hennemuth, Anja; Schumacher, Martin; Jung, Bernd; Harloff, Andreas (2014). Prevalence of potential retrograde embolization pathways in the proximal descending aorta in stroke patients and controls. Cerebrovascular diseases, 38(6), pp. 410-417. Karger 10.1159/000369001

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BACKGROUND Retrograde diastolic blood flow in the proximal descending aorta (DAo) connecting complex plaques (≥4 mm thick) with brain-supplying supra-aortic arteries may constitute a source of stroke. Yet, data only from high-risk populations (cryptogenic stroke patients with aortic atheroma≥3 mm) regarding the prevalence of this potential stroke mechanism are available. We aimed to quantify the frequency of this mechanism in unselected patients with cryptogenic stroke after routine diagnostics and controls without a history of stroke. METHODS 88 patients (67 stroke patients, 21 cardiac controls) were prospectively included. 3D T1-weighted bright blood MRI of the aorta was applied for the detection of complex DAo atheroma. ECG-triggered and navigator-gated 4D flow MRI allowed measuring time-resolved 3D blood flow in vivo. Potential retrograde embolization pathways were defined as the co-occurrence of complex plaques and retrograde blood flow in the DAo reaching the outlet of (a) the left subclavian artery, (b) the left common carotid artery, or/and (c) the brachiocephalic trunk. The frequency of these pathways was analyzed by importing 2D plaque images into 3D blood flow visualization software. RESULTS Complex DAo plaques were more frequent in stroke patients (44 in 31/67 patients (46.3%) vs. 5 in 4/21 controls (19.1%); p=0.039), especially in older patients (29/46 (63.04%) patients≥60 years of age with 41 plaques vs. 2/21 (9.14%) patients<60 years of age with 3 plaques; p<0.001). Contrary to our assumption, retrograde diastolic blood flow at the DAo occurred in every patient irrespective of the existence of plaques with a similar extent in both groups (26±14 vs. 32±18 mm; p=0.114). Therefore, only the higher prevalence of complex DAo plaques in stroke patients resulted in a three times higher frequency of potential retrograde embolization pathways compared to controls (22/67 (32.8%) vs. 2/21 (9.5%) controls; p=0.048). CONCLUSIONS This study revealed that retrograde flow in the descending aorta is a common phenomenon not only in stroke patients. The existence of potential retrograde embolization pathways depends mainly on the occurrence of complex plaques in the area 0 to ∼30 mm behind the outlet of the left subclavian artery, which is exposed to flow reversal. In conclusion, we have shown that the frequency of potential retrograde embolization pathways was significantly higher in stroke patients suggesting that this mechanism may play a role in retrograde brain embolism.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic, Interventional and Paediatric Radiology

UniBE Contributor:

Jung, Bernd

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1015-9770

Publisher:

Karger

Language:

English

Submitter:

Aisha Stefania Mzinga

Date Deposited:

04 May 2015 11:10

Last Modified:

05 Nov 2015 11:20

Publisher DOI:

10.1159/000369001

PubMed ID:

25472468

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.66856

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/66856

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