Article Abstract

Etiology of intracranial stenosis in young patients: a highresolution magnetic resonance imaging study

Authors: Yu-Yuan Xu, Ming-Li Li, Shan Gao, Zheng-Yu Jin, Zhao-Yong Sun, Jie Chen, Bo Hou, Hai-Long Zhou, Feng Feng, Wei-Hai Xu


Background: Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (HRMRI), we sought to investigate the underlying etiology of intracranial stenosis in young patients.
Methods: We retrospectively studied 122 Chinese young adult patients (from 18 to 45 years old, mean age 36.2±7.5 years) with unilateral middle cerebral artery (MCA) stenosis based on a prospectively established HRMRI database. The eccentricity, degree of stenosis, and remodeling types of MCA lesions were analyzed. The MCA lesions were classified as eccentric (presumed atherosclerosis) or concentric stenosis (presumed non-atherosclerosis). The clinical data and vessel wall properties were compared between the patients >35 years old and the patients ≤35 years old.
Results: Eccentric stenosis was observed in 98 (80.3%) patients and concentric stenosis in 24 (19.7%) patients. The patients with eccentric stenosis were older (37.5±6.8 vs. 31.4±8.4 years old, P<0.001) and more likely had atherosclerosis risk factors (56.1% vs. 25.0%, P=0.006). The patients >35 years old had higher prevalence (90.1% vs. 66.7%, P=0.001) of eccentric stenosis and atherosclerosis factors (60.6% vs. 35.3%, P=0.006) than the patients ≤35 years old. Most of the patients with concentric stenosis were ≤35 years old (17/24, 70.8%) and were female (16/24, 66.7%). Binary Logistic analysis suggested smoking (OR =3.171; 95% CI, 1.210–8.314) and remodeling ratio (OR =1.625; 95% CI, 1.001–2.636) were independent predictive factors for symptomatic stenosis.
Conclusions: Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of intracranial stenosis in Chinese young patients. Non-atherosclerosis disease is an important etiology in young female, especially in the patients aged 35 years old or younger.