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Papers of the Week

2020 Jan




Prevalence and Risk Factors of White Matter Lesions in Tibetan Patients Without Acute Stroke.


Jin H, Ding Z, Lian S, Zhao Y, He S, Zhou L, Zhuoga C, Wang H, Xu J, Du A, Yan G, Sun Y
Stroke. 2020 Jan; 51(1):149-153.
PMID: 31679502.


Background and Purpose- Studies on the prevalence and risk factors of white matter lesions (WMLs) in Tibetans living at high altitudes are scarce. We conducted this study to determine the prevalence and risks of WMLs in Tibetan patients without or with nonacute stroke. Methods- We undertook a retrospective analysis of medical records of patients treated at the People's Hospital of Tibetan Autonomous Region and identified a total of 301 Tibetan patients without acute stroke. WML severity was graded by the Fazekas Scale. We assessed the overall and age-specific prevalence of WMLs and analyzed associations between WMLs and related factors with univariate and multivariate methods. Results- Of the 301 patients, 87 (28.9%) had peripheral vertigo, 83 (27.3%) had primary headache, 52 (17.3%) had a history of stroke, 36 (12.0%) had an anxiety disorder, 29 (9.6%) had epilepsy, 12 (4.0%) had infections of the central nervous system, and 3 (1.0%) had undetermined diseases. WMLs were present in 245 (81.4%) patients, and 54 (17.9%) were younger than 40 years. Univariate analysis showed that age, history of cerebral infarction, hypertension, the thickness of the common carotid artery intima, and plaque within the intracarotid artery were related risks for WMLs. Ordered logistic analysis showed that age, history of cerebral ischemic stroke, hypertension, male sex, and atrial fibrillation were associated with WML severity. Conclusions- Risk factors for WMLs appear similar for Tibetans residing at high altitudes and individuals living in the plains. Further investigations are needed to determine whether Tibetans residing at high altitudes have a higher burden of WMLs than inhabitants of the plains.