Pain and Neuroinflammation Imaging Lab

Stroke-Related Visceral Alterations: A Voxel-Based Neuroanatomic Localization Study

Arsava EM, Chang K, Tawakol A, Loggia ML, Goldstein JN, Brown J, Park KY, Singhal AB, Kalpathy-Cramer J, Sorensen AG, Rosen BR, Samuels MA, Ay H. 

Ann Neurol. 2023 Aug 29. doi: 10.1002/ana.26785.

Online ahead of print. 


Objective: Functional and morphologic changes in extracranial organs can occur after acute brain injury. The neuroanatomic correlates of such changes are not fully known. Herein, we tested the hypothesis that brain infarcts are associated with cardiac and systemic abnormalities (CSAs) in a regionally specific manner.

Methods: We generated voxelwise p value maps of brain infarcts for poststroke plasma cardiac troponin T (cTnT) elevation, QTc prolongation, in-hospital infection, and acute stress hyperglycemia (ASH) in 1,208 acute ischemic stroke patients prospectively recruited into the Heart-Brain Interactions Study. We examined the relationship between infarct location and CSAs using a permutation-based approach and identified clusters of contiguous voxels associated with p < 0.05.

Results: cTnT elevation not attributable to a known cardiac reason was detected in 5.5%, QTc prolongation in the absence of a known provoker in 21.2%, ASH in 33.9%, and poststroke infection in 13.6%. We identified significant, spatially segregated voxel clusters for each CSA. The clusters for troponin elevation and QTc prolongation mapped to the right hemisphere. There were 3 clusters for ASH, the largest of which was in the left hemisphere. We found 2 clusters for poststroke infection, one associated with pneumonia in the left and one with urinary tract infection in the right hemisphere. The relationship between infarct location and CSAs persisted after adjusting for infarct volume.

Interpretation: Our results show that there are discrete regions of brain infarcts associated with CSAs. This information could be used to bootstrap toward new markers for better differentiation between neurogenic and non-neurogenic mechanisms of poststroke CSAs. ANN NEUROL 2023.