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April 2014

Is Calcification of Intracranial Arteries Important and How?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
  • 2Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Neurol. 2014;71(4):401-402. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.6224

Intracranial atherosclerosis is a well-recognized and common cause of stroke in Asian, black, and Hispanic individuals.1,2 Recent studies showed that intracranial occlusive disease is also a more common cause of stroke in white individuals than previously thought.3 In this issue of JAMA Neurology, Bos and colleagues4 provide evidence that intracranial carotid artery calcification is an important risk factor for stroke in an elderly white Dutch population. As part of the prospective, population-based Rotterdam study, the authors followed up 2323 individuals to determine the incidence of stroke (parenchymal brain hemorrhage or ischemic) after they had nonenhanced computed tomography (CT) scanning that imaged the coronary arteries, aortic arch, extracranial carotid arteries, and intracranial carotid arteries. The authors used calcification volume in these arteries as an indicator of atherosclerosis and correlated this with the risk for all stroke and ischemic stroke. They found that larger intracranial carotid calcification volume was independently associated with all stroke and that intracranial carotid calcification was a more important risk factor for stroke than aortic arch calcification or extracranial carotid calcification.