Subcortical vascular cognitive impairment (SVCI) is characterized by the presence of cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) markers. Some SVCI patients also show Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) markers. However, the effects of these imaging markers on long-term clinical outcomes have not yet been established. The present study, therefore, aimed to determine how these imaging markers influence functional disability and/or mortality.
We recruited 194 participants with SVCI from the memory clinic and followed them up. All participants underwent brain MRI at baseline, and 177 (91.2%) participants underwent beta-amyloid (Aβ) PET. We examined the occurrence of ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes. We also evaluated functional disability and mortality using the modified Rankin scale. To determine the effects of imaging markers on functional disability or mortality, we used the Fine and Gray competing regression or the Cox regression analysis.
During a 8.6-year follow-up period, 46 of 194 (23.7%) patients experienced a stroke, 110 (56.7%) patients developed functional disabilities and 75 (38.6%) died. Aβ positivity (subdistribution hazard ratio [SHR] = 2.73), larger white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume (SHR = 3.11) and ≥3 microbleeds (SHR = 2.29) at baseline were independent predictors of functional disability regardless of the occurrence of stroke. Larger WMH volume (hazzard ratio [HR] = 2.07) was an independent predictor of mortality.
Our findings suggest that diverse imaging markers may predict long-term functional disability and mortality in patients with SVCI, which in turn may provide clinicians with a more insightful understanding of the long-term outcomes of SVCI.

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