School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Association Of Brain Arterial Diameters With Demographic And Anatomical Factors In A Multinational Pooled Analysis Of Cohort Studies

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Conference Proceeding

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Objectives: Brain arterial dilation is an increasingly recognized cerebrovascular disease marker. However, demographic and anatomical factors may influence brain arterial diameters within the normal spectrum. We hypothesize that age, sex, height, total cranial volume (TCV) and fetal posterior cerebral arteries (fPCA) presence correlate with brain arterial diameters across diverse populations.

Methods: We included participants with available time-of-flight MRA from 9 cohort studies across the United States (4), Ecuador (1), Venezuela (1), South Africa (1) and Singapore (2). Arterial diameters of the basilar artery (BA), cavernous internal carotid arteries (ICAs) and middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) were measured using LKEB Automated Vessel Analysis (LAVA) software. Linear regression models were fitted to assess the association between brain arterial diameters and exposures. The R-squared was calculated to assess the extent of brain arterial diameter variation explained by the variables studied.

Results: The sample included 6,269 participants (mean age 68 years; 42% men). Unilateral fPCA was found in 12.6% and bilateral fPCAs in 3.0%. Older age, male sex and TCV were uniformly correlated with larger BA, ICA and MCA diameters (Table). Unilateral and bilateral fPCAs showed a negative correlation with BA diameter and a positive correlation with ICA diameters in a dose-dependent manner. Models fitted for age, sex, TCV, and fPCA presence explained on average 24, 16 and 12 % of the BA, ICAs and MCA diameter interindividual variation, respectively. Using height instead of TCV decreased the R-squared by 2% on average.

Conclusions: In this pooled analysis of cohort studies, we found brain arterial diameters consistently correlate with age, sex, TCV and fPCA presence. These factors should be considered to define abnormal arterial diameter cut-offs across populations. If resources are limited or if bedside applicability is desired, height could be used instead of TCV.


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Office of Human Genetics