Background: Cerebral small vessel disease and extracranial atherosclerotic carotid disease are manifestations of silent cerebrovascular disease (CVD). Information on these two pathologies in hypertensive population with low cardiovascular risk (CVR) is scarce.
Objective: To explore frequency and characteristics of silent CVD in hypertensive adults and cognitive repercussion of these alterations.
Methods: 39 hypertensive patients (mean age: 53.5 years) were studied. Cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (3T), doppler ultrasound of the carotid artery and neuropsychological studies were obtained.
Results: 79% of patients presented white matter lesions (WML), 18% showed only cerebral atrophy and/or enlarged perivascular spaces, 60% presented hyperplasia of intimal media complex (IMC) and/or atheroma plaques. In women, a significant correlation was observed between IMC thickness and bifrontal index, and WML was greater in patients with carotid plaques. A non-significant decrease in neuropsychological performance was observed in the groups of patients with intra and/or extracerebral injury and a negative correlation with the bifrontal index in men was found.
Conclusion: Frequency of intra and extracerebral silent CVD was high in hypertensive adults with low to moderate CVR. WML and brain atrophy were partially related with carotid lesions. Age significantly influenced the appearance of intra and extracerebral lesions. Cognitive performance did not decrease significantly due to the presence of these lesions.c