Basilar Artery Dolichoectasia: Prevalence and Correlates With Markers of Cerebral Small Vessel Disease in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Oscar H. Del Brutto, Robertino M. Mera, Victor J. Del Brutto, Aldo F. Costa, Mauricio Zambrano, James Brorson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background Basilar artery (BA) dolichoectasia has been associated with cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). However, studies have focused on stroke patients, and results cannot be extrapolated to the population at large. In this study, we aimed to assess prevalence of BA dolichoectasia and its association with SVD in community-dwelling older adults living in rural Ecuador. Methods Atahualpa residents aged ≥60 years underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance angiography of intracranial vessels. Following Smoker's criteria, the mean BA diameter plus 2 standard deviation defined ectasia. In addition, a location lateral to the lateral margin of the clivus of dorsum sellae or a bifurcation at the third ventricle floor or higher defined dolichosis. Associations between BA abnormalities and imaging markers of SVD were assessed by the use of regression models adjusted for demographics and cardiovascular risk factors. Results Of 346 participants, 11 (3.2%) had ectasia, 40 (11.6%) had dolichosis, and 47 (13.6%) had dolichoectasia (ectasia, dolichosis, or both). BA diameter was only associated with severity of white matter hyperintensities (P =.038). Dolichosis was associated with deep cerebral microbleeds (P =.002) but not with white matter hyperintensities. Dolichoectasia was associated with both white matter hyperintensities (P =.031) and cerebral microbleeds (P =.001). There were no associations with lacunar infarcts or enlarged perivascular spaces in any model. Conclusions Prevalence of BA dolichoectasia in this rural setting is similar to that reported in other populations. Associations with imaging markers of SVD differ according to whether the subject has ectasia or dolichosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2909-2914
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Basilar artery dolichoectasia
  • cerebral microbleeds
  • enlarged perivascular spaces
  • lacunar infarcts
  • small vessel disease
  • white matter hyperintensities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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