Volume 22 (2015) Issue 5 Pages 509-517
Aim: Deep pontine lacunar infarction (DPLI) not involving the basal pial surface of the medial part of the pons, is known to be a small vessel disease in the territory of the basilar artery (BA). In the present study, we examined whether morphological features of the BA differ in individuals with an advanced age and may be associated with DPLI.
Methods: This study included 338 healthy subjects and 78 patients with DPLI treated at the stroke centers of three university hospitals in Korea. Time-Of-Flight magnetic resonance angiographic images were transported to a central lab and analyzed blind to obtain the clinical data. For the quantitative analysis, the BA was projected two-dimensionally in the anteroposterior and lateral views and perceived as triangles of the vertebrobasilar junction, angulation point and BA division. The angles and triangular areas were summated into angulation indexes and used to quantify the degree of BA tortuosity.
Results: The BA showed a more acute angle at the angulation point in the elderly patients than in the healthy subjects. Compared to the healthy subjects, the DPLI patients exhibited significantly larger angles at the vertebrobasilar junction, in addition to the acute angles noted at the angulation point. A unit increase in the BA angle indexes at the vertebrobasilar junction and angulation points for DPLI was found to have an odds ratio of 1.15 (95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.26) and 0.95 (95% CI, 0.91-0.99), respectively, even after adjusting for potential confounders.
Conclusions: The angulation point of the BA becomes more acute in elderly individuals. In this study, the vertebrobasilar junction showed a larger angle in the patients with DPLI than in the healthy controls.