To investigate characteristics of intra- and extracranial arterial culprit plaques between patients with single infarct and multiple-infarcts by a head-neck combined high resolution magnetic resonance vessel wall imaging (HR-MRVWI).
Forty-three patients with recent ischemic stroke due to large artery atherosclerosis were enrolled. The head-neck combined HR-MRVWI was performed in all patients both pre- and post-contrast administration. Based on diffusion weighted imaging findings, patients were divided into single-infarction and multiple-infarction groups. For patients with anterior circulation ischemic stroke, they were also divided into perforating artery infarction (PAI) and non-PAI groups. Patient demographics, number and location of culprit plaques, artery stenosis percentage, intraplaque hemorrhage, and plaque enhancement were evaluated and compared between single-infarction and multiple-infarction groups, as well as between PAI and non-PAI groups.
A total of 83 culprit plaques were identified. The artery stenosis degree was more severe and plaque enhancement more prominent in multiple-infarction group than in single-infarction group. Patients with multiple infarcts also had more culprit plaques per patient than those with single infarct, which contributed to the occurrence of multiple infarcts. For comparison of PAI and non-PAI groups, a higher artery stenosis percentage was observed in non-PAI group, and patients with non-PAI had more culprit plaques per patient, which contributed to a variety of infarct manifestations.
A higher stenosis grade and higher number of culprit plaques seem to be associated with a higher number of cerebral infarcts in patients with large artery atherosclerosis.

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.