Higher Ambulatory Blood Pressure Relates to New Cerebral Microbleeds 2-Year Follow-Up Study in Lacunar Stroke Patients

Pim Klarenbeek*, Robert J. van Oostenbrugge, Rob P. W. Rouhl, Iris L. H. Knottnerus, Julie Staals

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background and Purpose-Elevated blood pressure (BP) is associated with the presence of cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) in cross-sectional studies. However, longitudinal studies did not show a convincing relationship. We aimed to determine the association between elevated BP levels and the occurrence of new CMBs after a 2-year follow-up in first-ever lacunar stroke patients using ambulatory BP monitoring. Methods-Ninety-six first-ever lacunar stroke patients underwent brain MRI and ambulatory BP monitoring at baseline and after 2-year follow-up. We used logistic regression analyses to assess the association of BP levels with new CMBs. Results-We found new CMBs in 17 patients (18%). Higher 24-hour, day and night systolic BP (odds ratio, 2.69; 95% confidence interval, 1.40-5.21 per SD increase for 24-hour BP) and diastolic BP (odds ratio, 2.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-3.90 per SD increase for 24-hour BP) at baseline were associated with the development of new CMBs independent of age and sex. BP levels decreased during follow-up in both patients with and without new CMBs. Unlike BP levels at baseline, there was no difference in BP levels at follow-up between patients with and without new CMBs. Conclusions-Both higher systolic and diastolic BP levels were associated with the development of new CMBs in a population of lacunar stroke patients. Decrease of BP levels during follow-up did not halt progression of CMBs; however, it remains to be determined whether (early) intervention with antihypertensive drugs can slow down progression of CMBs. (Stroke. 2013;44:978-983.)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-983
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
  • blood pressure
  • cerebral microbleeds
  • cerebral small vessel disease

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