To test the hypothesis that leuko-araiosis is associated with small-vessel disease, we prospectively studied whether it is related to the type of focal lesions in 322 consecutive patients with a first acute cerebrovascular event. Using CT scans without contrast and univariate analysis, we found a relationship between leuko-araiosis and increasing age and cerebral atrophy (both: p < 0.001); patients with leuko-araiosis are more likely to have hypertension (odds ratio (OR) and 99% confidence interval (CI): 1.10–2.35) and lacunes (99% CI-OR: 1.58–2.94) and less likely to be free of focal lesions (99 % CI-OR: 0.32–0.91). The stepwise regression revealed four independent variables of leuko-araiosis: age, lacunes, cerebral atrophy and deep hemorrhages (all: p < 0.01) but not hypertension (p = 0.11). This supports the hypothesis that leuko-araiosis is mainly supported by small-vessel changes in stroke patients.

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