One hundred and seventy five multi-infarct dementia (MID) patients were evaluated for risk factors for stroke as well as for the types of cerebrovascular lesions that were present. The incidence of associated risk factors for stroke were as follows: hypertension (66%), heart disease (47%), cigarette smoking (37%), diabetes mellitus (20%), moderate alcohol consumption (19%) and hyperlipidaemia (21%). The most frequently occurring type of lesions were multiple lacunar infarctions of the brain (43%). These were combined with other types of stroke in an additional 21%. Atherosclerotic occlusive disease of the carotid and vertebrobasilar arteries occurred alone in 18% and was associated with other types of stroke in another 25%. Embolic cerebral infarctions were present alone in 8% and were combined with other types of stroke in 15%. MID was more frequent in men (62%) than women (p less than 0.002). Mean bihemispheric gray matter cerebral blood flow (CBF) values showed a fluctuating course and when results were pooled and compared between different types of MID, extracranial occlusive disease and/or multiple lacunar infarctions resulted in lowest CBF values. The location of cerebral infarctions was more importantly related to cognitive impairments than was the total volume of infarcted brain. Mortality rates among 125 MID patients followed for 31 months has been 5%. Correct clinical classification of the types of cerebrovascular lesions was confirmed in three necropsied cases.
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