Leukoaraiosis and dementia in hypertensive patients.
Although our previous study demonstrated that dementia of the Binswanger type may be a disconnection dementia caused by leukoaraiosis, some hypertensive patients with marked leukoaraiosis do not develop dementia. The goal of the present study is to elucidate the pathophysiology of nondemented hypertensive patients with leukoaraiosis.
We performed clinical and neuroradiological studies, including positron emission tomography, in eight hypertensive patients with leukoaraiosis.
Four patients were demented, and two among the other four who were not demented at the first examination developed dementia during the follow-up period. Digital subtraction angiography of the cervical and intracranial arteries demonstrated stenotic lesions in only one patient. Cerebral blood flow and oxygen metabolism in patients with dementia were markedly reduced in the white matter (59-67% of control values). In contrast, cerebral blood flow in the white matter of patients without dementia was reduced less markedly (74% of control), oxygen extraction fraction in the white matter was significantly increased (130% of control), and oxygen metabolism remained at almost-normal levels not only in the white matter but also in the cortical area.
Hypertension-caused arteriosclerotic changes of the long penetrating medullary arteries may cause misery perfusion and later ischemic damage in the periventricular white matter. Preserved oxygen metabolism in hypertensive patients with leukoaraiosis may represent the early stage of vascular dementia of the Binswanger type.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association