Background: We investigated the relationship between silent ischemic lesions, defined as hyperintense lesions on T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans of brain white matter and cerebral hemodynamics (baseline cerebral blood flow and cerebral vasoreactivity). Methods: Between January 2007 and December 2012, 61 patients with asymptomatic internal carotid artery stenosis were evaluated for asymptomatic silent ischemic lesions, acute infarction, and cerebral hemodynamics. Patients were divided into 2 groups based on silent ischemic lesion distribution; the Symmetry group (n = 34) included patients who showed symmetrical distribution of lesions (or had no lesions), and the Asymmetry group (n = 27) included patients with a greater number of lesions in the ipsilateral than that in the contralateral hemisphere. The Asymmetry group was further divided into Internal (n = 15) and External (n = 12) types. Results: Two External-type patients (17%) showed spotty asymptomatic acute infarction in the ipsilateral hemisphere. There were no significant differences in patient characteristics, histopathological findings, vascular risk factors, or cerebral blood flow values between the groups. The mean cerebral vasoreactivity value in the ipsilateral hemisphere for the Internal type was 13.0 ± 15.2% (range: -11.4% to 41.6%), which was significantly lower than values of the contralateral hemisphere (36.7 ± 20.8%; range: 3.9% to 75.7%; P<.01) and ipsilateral hemispheres of the other groups (P <.01). Conclusions: The finding that increased ipsilateral asymmetrical silent ischemic lesions correlated with cerebral vasoreactivity reduction may help predict the risk of cerebral infarction in patients with asymptomatic internal carotid artery stenosis.
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