Hematoma expansion is a potentially modifiable predictor of poor outcome following an acute intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The ability to identify patients with ICH who are likeliest to experience hematoma expansion and therefore likeliest to benefit from expansion-targeted treatments remains an unmet need. Hypodensities within an ICH detected by noncontrast computed tomography (NCCT) have been suggested as a predictor of hematoma expansion.
Liu et al., selected 125 patients with acute cerebral hemorrhage admitted within 24 hours of symptom onset. Blood calcium levels were assessed by standard biochemical methods. Hematoma volume was measured by quantitative computed tomography. NIHSS (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale) scores at one month, and the differences in survival rate and survival period at follow-up visits were assessed.
Hematoma volume and NIHSS scores of the hypocalcemic group were higher than those of the hypercalcemic group. Those of the normocalcemic group were the lowest, and the differences were statistically significant (p < 0.05). The survival rate and survival period of the normocalcemic group were higher than those of the other two groups and the differences were statistically significant (p < 0.05). The logistics regression analysis showed that the APACHE II score, blood calcium level upon admission and hematoma volume were independent risk factors for survival (p < 0.05).
If blood calcium level is too low or too high, hematoma volume and stroke severity of acute cerebral hemorrhage patients may increase and is related to long-term survival 1).
To determine whether hypodense regions, irrespective of their specific patterns, are associated with hematoma expansion in patients with ICH Boulouis et al analyzed a large cohort of 784 patients with ICH (the development cohort; 55.6% female), examined NCCT findings for any hypodensity, and replicated the findings on a different cohort of patients (the replication cohort; 52.7% female). Baseline and follow-up NCCT data from consecutive patients with ICH presenting to a tertiary care hospital between 1994 and 2015 were retrospectively analyzed. Data analyses were performed between December 2015 and January 2016.
Hypodensities were analyzed by 2 independent blinded raters. The association between hypodensities and hematoma expansion (>6 cm3 or 33% of baseline volume) was determined by multivariable logistic regression after controlling for other variables associated with hematoma expansion in univariate analyses with P ≤ .10.
A total of 1029 patients were included in the analysis. In the development and replication cohorts, 222 of 784 patients (28.3%) and 99 of 245 patients (40.4%; 321 of 1029 patients [31.2%]), respectively, had NCCT scans that demonstrated hypodensities at baseline (κ = 0.87 for interrater reliability). In univariate analyses, hypodensities were associated with hematoma expansion (86 of 163 patients with hematoma expansion had hypodensities [52.8%], whereas 136 of 621 patients without hematoma expansion had hypodensities [21.9%]; P < .001). The association between hypodensities and hematoma expansion remained significant (odds ratio, 3.42 [95% CI, 2.21-5.31]; P < .001) in a multivariable model; other independent predictors of hematoma expansion were a CT angiography spot sign, a shorter time to CT, warfarin use, and older age. The independent predictive value of hypodensities was again demonstrated in the replication cohort (odds ratio, 4.37 [95% CI, 2.05-9.62]; P < .001).
Hypodensities within an acute ICH detected on an NCCT scan may predict hematoma expansion, independent of other clinical and imaging predictors. This novel marker may help clarify the mechanism of hematoma expansion and serve as a useful addition to clinical algorithms for determining the risk of and treatment stratification for hematoma expansion 2)