The Course of Unilateral Intracranial Arteriopathy in Young Adults With Arterial Ischemic Stroke
Background and Purpose—Unilateral intracranial focal nonprogressive arteriopathy is often found in children with arterial ischemic stroke. We aimed to investigate the course of unilateral intracranial arteriopathy in young adults.
Methods—We searched the Utrecht Stroke Database for patients between 16 and 50 years of age diagnosed with anterior circulation arterial ischemic stroke and a nonatherosclerotic, unilateral intracranial large-artery arteriopathy between 1991 and 2005. We assessed clinical features, potential causes, risk factors, extent of infarction and arteriopathy at presentation, long-term angiographic course, and clinical outcome.
Results—Of 356 patients with anterior circulation arterial ischemic stroke, 17 (5%) had a documented unilateral intracranial arteriopathy, of whom 14 could be included for follow-up investigations (median age, 34 years; range, 27–49 years). Median duration of follow-up was 8.8 years (range, 1.7–12.8 years). In 11 patients, onset of symptoms was not abrupt. The arteriopathy normalized completely in 5 and improved in 3 patients; in none of the patients did the arteriopathy worsen. Two of 14 patients had recurrent symptoms. Ten patients (71%) had a good outcome (modified Rankin Scale score ≤2).
Conclusions—In young adults, arterial ischemic stroke is rarely caused by a unilateral intracranial arteriopathy. Similar to children, onset of symptoms in young adults is often not abrupt and the arteriopathy may improve over time. Late recurrences were rare. Possibly, a monophasic inflammatory process, as has been suggested for childhood intracranial focal nonprogressive arteriopathies, also occurs in young adults.
- Received February 13, 2012.
- Revision received March 21, 2012.
- Accepted March 23, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.