Luminal-based imaging have identified different risk factors for extracranial and intracranial atherosclerosis (ICAS), but these techniques are known to underestimate the true extent of the disease. High-resolution (HR) vessel wall imaging (VWI) has recently gained recognition as a valuable tool in the assessment of ICAS. The aim of this study is to determine the association between cardiovascular risk factors and specific intracranial vessel segment involvement using HR-VWI.
From January 2017 to January 2020, consecutive patients ≥ 18 years-old undergoing HR-VWI of the brain were identified. Patients with history of primary or secondary vasculitis, reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, or moya-moya were excluded. The presence of vessel wall thickening and enhancement were assessed in the perpendicular plane for each vessel segment by two neuroradiologists. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess associations between imaging findings and cardiovascular risk factors. Interrater reliability was calculated.
Seventy-one patients (39 men; mean age: 55.9 years) were included. Vessel wall enhancement was seen in 39/71 (55%). A total number of 105 vessel segments demonstrated abnormal enhancement and 79/105 (75%) had an eccentric pattern. Eccentric vessel wall enhancement was independently associated with age >65 years-old in the ICA (OR 9.0, CI 2.1 – 38.2, p < 0.01) and proximal MCA (OR 4.0, CI 1.2 – 13.2, p = 0.02), and with hyperlipidemia in the posterior circulation (OR 44.0, CI2.9-661.0, p<0.01).
There is a significant association between eccentric vessel wall enhancement of the ICA and proximal MCA in patients with age > 65; and of the proximal posterior circulation (basilar – PCA1) with hyperlipidemia.

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