Leukoaraiosis (LA) is a finding in the elderly, that might be asymptomatic or can impact their motor and cognitive functions. We studied the presence of LA in the MRI of patients with AIS and its impact on functional outcome at 3 months.
500 consecutive patients diagnosed as AIS were enrolled. Medical history included pre-medication by antiplatelets or statins, and vascular risk factors were reported by history and laboratory investigations. Severity of stroke was assessed by NIHSS and stroke outcome was evaluated on discharge and at 3 months by modified Rankin scale (mRS). LA was diagnosed by MRI-FLAIR sequence and delineated from acute infarction by diffusion-weighted image. And accordingly, patients were divided into group A (absent LA) and group B (present LA).
460 patients completed the study, with 53% of patients on antiplatelet therapy and 11.7% on statins prior to stroke. The percentage of patients with LA was significantly more than those without LA. Patients with LA showed a significantly higher age, more frequent and longer duration of diabetes and hypertension, ischemic heart disease, previous stroke/TIA and antiplatelet intake. Microbleeds were more and mRS was worse in LA group.
The presence of LA in the background MRI of AIS patients is accompanied by the presence of more risk factors, and unfavorable outcome. Pre-medication with antiplatelets did not prevent the incidence of a new stroke especially in LA group. This might necessitate the identification of some medication for secondary prevention in patients with small vessel disease.

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