Previous Statin Use and High-Resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging Characteristics of Intracranial Atherosclerotic Plaque
The Intensive Statin Treatment in Acute Ischemic Stroke Patients With Intracranial Atherosclerosis Study
Background and Purpose—Although statin use has been linked to the stabilization of systemic atherosclerosis, its effect on symptomatic intracranial atherosclerotic plaques has yet to be explored. We hypothesized that premorbid statin use is associated with plaque instability in intracranial arteries and may lead to differential patterns (size and distribution) of ischemic lesions in patients with acute intracranial atherosclerotic stroke.
Methods—One hundred and thirty-six patients with acute infarcts caused by intracranial atherosclerotic stroke underwent high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging. Patients were categorized into 3 groups based on their premorbid statin use: nonuser, low-dose user, and high-dose user, according to the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines on blood cholesterol. Symptomatic lesions in intracranial arteries were analyzed using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging for vascular morphology (degree of stenosis, remodeling index, and wall index) and plaque activation (pattern and volume of enhancement). The cortical distribution and volume of ischemic brain lesions were measured using diffusion-weighted imaging.
Results—Among the enrolled patients, 38 (27.94%) were taking statins before the index stroke (22 low-dose statins and 16 high-dose statins). The degree of stenosis, remodeling index, and wall index did not differ between the 3 groups. However, the volume of plaque enhancement was significantly lower in statin users (nonuser, 33.26±40.72; low-dose user, 13.15±17.53; high-dose user, 3.13±5.26; P=0.002). Premorbid statin use was associated with a higher prevalence of nonembolic stroke and a decrease in large cortical infarcts (P=0.012).
Conclusions—Premorbid statin usage is independently associated with reduced plaque enhancement and a decrease in large cortical lesions in patients with intracranial atherosclerotic stroke.
- Received March 16, 2016.
- Revision received April 20, 2016.
- Accepted May 17, 2016.
- © 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.