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Deep structural brain lesions associated with consciousness impairment early after haemorrhagic stroke

By Benjamin Rohaut, Kevin W Doyle, Alexandra S Reynolds, Kay Igwe, Caroline Couch, Adu Matory, Batool Rizvi, David Roh, Angela Velasquez, Murad Megjhani, Soojin Park, Sachin Agarwal, Christine M Mauro, Gen Li, Andrey Eliseyev, Vincent Perlbarg, E. Sander Connolly, Adam M Brickman, Jan Claassen

Posted 15 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/441709 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-41042-2)

BACKGROUND: The significance of deep structural lesions on level of consciousness early after intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) is largely unknown. METHODS: We studied a consecutive series of patients with spontaneous ICH that underwent MRI within 7 days of the bleed. We assessed consciousness by testing for command following from time of MRI to hospital discharge, and determined 3-months functional outcomes using the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended (GOS-E). ICH and oedema volumes, intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH), and midline shift (MLS) were quantified. Presence of blood and oedema in deep brain regions previously implicated in consciousness were assessed. A machine learning approach using logistic regression with elastic net regularization was applied to identify parameters that best predicted consciousness at discharge controlling for confounders. RESULTS: From 158 ICH patients that underwent MRI, 66% (N=105) were conscious and 34% (N=53) unconscious at the time of MRI. Almost half of unconscious patients (49%, N= 26) recovered consciousness by ICU discharge. Focal lesions within subcortical structures predicted persistent impairment of consciousness at discharge together with MLS, IVH, and ICH and oedema volumes (AUC 0.74; 95%-CI 0.73-0.75). Caudate nucleus, midbrain peduncle, and pontine tegmentum were implicated as critical structures. Unconscious patients predicted to recover consciousness had better 3-month functional outcomes than those predicted to remain unconscious (35% vs 0% GOS-E ≥4; p-value=0.02). CONCLUSION: MRI lesions within key subcortical structures together with measures reflecting the mass effect of the haemorrhage (lesion volumes, IVH, MLS) obtained within one week of ICH can help predict early recovery of consciousness and 3-month functional outcome.

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