Cerebral Microbleeds Linked to Stroke, All-Cause Mortality

Brain blood vessels
Brain blood vessels
Cerebral microbleeds are a marker of vascular burden and should be aggressively pursued with treatment and preventive care.

CHICAGO — Cerebral microbleeds are associated with an increased risk of stroke and death, and should signal clinicians to pursue more aggressive treatment and preventive measures to better control risk factors, according to a study presented at the American Neurological Association Annual Meeting in Chicago. 

Jose R. Romero, MD, of Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, and colleagues sought to better understand the risks associated with cerebral microbleeds. As part of the Framingham Heart Study, the researchers evaluated 1,963 stroke- and dementia-free Framingham Original and Offspring cohort participants (mean age 67 years; 54% women) with available brain MRI and morbidity and mortality data (mean follow-up: 5.6 and 6.5 years, respectively).

Cerebral microbleeds were observed in 8.8% of the study participants. In age and sex-adjusted analysis, cerebral microbleeds were found to be associated with all-cause mortality (HR=1.37, P=0.04), however HR was attenuated after multivariable adjustment (HR=1.15; P=0.43). In multivariable analysis, lobar cerebral microbleeds showed a slight association with stroke mortality (HR=4.95; P=0.046).

Overall, the researchers concluded that cerebral microbleeds, which are associated with an increased risk of stroke death and all-cause mortality, are markers of aggregate vascular burden and require further investigation into their association with mortality. 


  1. Romero JR et al. Abstract S241Presented at: American Neurological Association Annual Meeting 2015; September 27-29, 2015; Chicago.