Cerebral cortical microinfarcts: A novel MRI marker of vascular brain injury in patients with heart failure

Heart-Brain Connection Consortium

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Background: Patients with heart failure (HF) are at risk for vascular brain injury. Cerebral cortical microinfarcts (CMIs) are a novel MRI marker of vascular brain injury. This study aims to determine the occurrence of CMIs in patient with HF and their clinical correlates, including haemodynamic status. Methods: From the Heart-Brain Study, a multicenter prospective cohort study, 154 patients with clinically stable HF without concurrent atrial fibrillation (mean age 69.5 ± 10.1, 32% female) and 124 reference participants without HF (mean age 65.6 ± 7.4, 47% females) were evaluated for CMIs on 3 T MRI. CMI presence in HF was tested for associations with vascular risk profile, cardiac function and history, MRI markers of vascular brain injury and cognitive profile. Results: CMI occurrence was higher in patient with HF (17%) than reference participants (7%); after correction for age and sex OR 2.5 [95% CI 1.1–6.0] p = .032; after additional correction for vascular risk factors OR 2.7 [1.0–7.1] p = .052. In patients with HF, CMI presence was associated with office hypertension (OR 2.7 [1.2–6.5] p = .021) and a lower cardiac index (B = -0.29 [−0.55−−0.04] p = .023 independent of vascular risk factors), but not with cause or duration of HF. Presence of CMIs was not associated with cognitive performance in patients with HF. Conclusions: CMIs are a common occurrence in patients with HF and related to an adverse vascular risk factor profile and severity of cardiac dysfunction. CMIs thus represent a novel marker of vascular brain injury in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of cardiology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cerebrovascular disease/stroke
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Embolism
  • Heart failure

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