Leukoaraiosis is an abnormality of white matter primarily identified on neuroimaging studies.

Pathogenesis: stenosis or occlusion of small perforating vessels (thalamostriate, etc.) causing hypoxic-ischemic injury


Appearance on neuroimaging studies: hypodense or hyperintense areas in the white matter. primarily periventricular or subcortical. These may be multifocal or diffuse.


Risk factors:

(1) age > 60 years

(2) female gender

(3) hypertension

(4) heart disease

(5) type 2 diabetes

(6) obesity

(7) hyperlipidemia

(8) hyperhomocystinemia

(9) carotid stenosis

(10) diffuse atherosclerosis


Clinical findings in patients with leukoaraiosis may include:

(1) motor deficits

(2) parkinsonism

(3) pseudobulbar syndrome

(4) cognitive impairment


Leukoaraiosis is associated with:

(1) increased risk of stroke or TIA

(2) increased risk of stroke complications

(3) increased risk of acute myocardial infarction

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