The causes of death of 127 patients, who had undergone CT examination of the brain in 1989, were investigated. The CT was re-evaluated. Twenty five patients were excluded because of pathological findings on CT other than leukoaraiosis (LA), infarction, or their combination or, because of a specific known aetiology for LA. Of the remaining 102 patients, 25 had pure LA, 18 had pure infarction, 37 had LA combined with infarction (cLA), and 22 had a normal CT. The mean time between the CT and death was 1.8 (SD 1.5) years. A vascular cause of death was clearly associated with LA and with the severity of LA. Patients with pure LA had a vascular cause of death as often as those with pure infarction and those with LA combined with infarction. These groups differed significantly from each other when comparing the occurrence of cerebrovascular, cardiovascular and other vascular causes of death. The results suggest that LA on CT is more likely to be associated with a cardiovascular cause of death, and pure infarction is more often associated with a cerebrovascular death.
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