Association of Plaque Features with Infarct Patterns in Patients with Acutely Symptomatic Middle Cerebral Artery Atherosclerotic Disease

Shuang Li, Xiaoyan Song, Qimin Hu, Jinglong Zhao, Heng Du, Yufeng Yan, Guodong Wang, Xiangyan Chen, Qiaoshu Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose: Understanding the stroke mechanism of middle cerebral artery (MCA) atherosclerosis is important for stroke triage and future trial design. The aim of this study was to characterize intrinsic MCA plaque and acute cerebral infarct in vivo by using high-resolution black-blood (BB) and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and to investigate the relationship between plaque features and infarct patterns. Methods: A single-center retrospective study was conducted at a tertiary referral center between March 2017 and August 2019. Patients consecutively admitted for acute ischemic stroke with MCA stenosis underwent diffusion-weighted and BB MR imaging. Plaque features and infarct patterns were assessed. The association between plaque features and infarct patterns (binary variable: single/multiple) was evaluated using a multivariate logistic regression model. Results: Of 49 patients with MCA atherosclerotic stenosis, diffusion-weighted MR imaging showed that 28 patients (57%) had multiple acute cerebral infarcts and 21 patients had single acute cerebral infarcts. In contrast to single infarct, multiple infarcts were associated with greater plaque burden (81.9±7.24 versus 71.3±13.7; P=0.012). A multivariate logistic regression model adjusted for 7 potential confounders confirmed a statistically significant positive association between plaque burden and multiple acute infarcts (adjusted R2 =0.432, P< 0.001). The rate of plaque surface irregularity was significantly greater in patients with multiple infarcts than those with single infarct (71% versus 43%, P=0.044). For single acute penetrating artery infarct, patients with infarct size > 2cm had greater plaque burden compared with patients with infarct size < 2cm (75.3±13.4 versus 63.4±10.9; P = 0.016). Conclusions: Increased plaque burden, plaque surface irregularity in patients with MCA stenosis is associated with its likelihood to have caused an artery-to-artery embolism that produces multiple cerebral infarcts, especially along the border zone region, and increased plaque burden may promote subcortical single infarct size by occluding penetrating arteries. Our results provide important insight into stroke mechanism of MCA atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105724
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cerebral infarction
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Middle cerebral artery occlusion
  • Plaque

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Association of Plaque Features with Infarct Patterns in Patients with Acutely Symptomatic Middle Cerebral Artery Atherosclerotic Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this