School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Association of brain arterial diameters with demographic and anatomical factors in a multi-national pooled analysis of cohort studies

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Background and purpose: Brain arterial diameters are markers of cerebrovascular disease. Demographic and anatomical factors may influence arterial diameters. We hypothesize that age, sex, height, total cranial volume (TCV), and persistent fetal posterior cerebral artery (fPCA) correlate with brain arterial diameters across populations.

Methods: Participants had a time-of-flight MRA from nine international cohorts. Arterial diameters of the cavernous internal carotid arteries (ICA), middle cerebral arteries (MCA), and basilar artery (BA) were measured using LAVA software. Regression models assessed the association between exposures and brain arterial diameters.

Results: We included 6,518 participants (mean age: 70 ± 9 years; 41% men). Unilateral fPCA was present in 13.2% and bilateral in 3.2%. Larger ICA, MCA, and BA diameters correlated with older age (Weighted average [WA] per 10 years: 0.18 mm, 0.11 mm, and 0.12 mm), male sex (WA: 0.24 mm, 0.13 mm, and 0.21 mm), and TCV (WA: for one TCV standard deviation: 0.24 mm, 0.29 mm, and 0.18 mm). Unilateral and bilateral fPCAs showed a positive correlation with ICA diameters (WA: 0.39 mm and 0.73 mm) and negative correlation with BA diameters (WA: -0.88 mm and -1.73 mm). Regression models including age, sex, TCV, and fPCA explained on average 15%, 13%, and 25% of the ICA, MCA, and BA diameter interindividual variation, respectively. Using height instead of TCV as a surrogate of head size decreased the R-squared by 3% on average.

Conclusion: Brain arterial diameters correlated with age, sex, TCV, and fPCA. These factors should be considered when defining abnormal diameter cutoffs across populations.


© The Author(s) 2023

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The neuroradiology journal



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