Population-Based Study of Cerebral Microbleeds in Stroke-Free Older Adults Living in Rural Ecuador: The Atahualpa Project

Victor J. Del Brutto, Mauricio Zambrano, Robertino M. Mera, Oscar H. Del Brutto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose-Prevalence of cerebral microbleeds (CMB) in white and Asian populations range from 4% to 15%. However, there is no information from indigenous Latin American people. We aimed to assess prevalence and cerebrovascular correlates of CMB in stroke-free older adults living in rural Ecuador. Methods-Of 311 Atahualpa residents aged ≥60 years identified during a door-to-door survey, 258 (83%) underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging. Twenty-one were further excluded for a diagnosis of overt stroke. Using multivariate logistic regression models, adjusted for demographics and cardiovascular risk factors, we evaluated whether CMB were independently associated with silent strokes, white matter hyperintensities, and global cortical atrophy. Results-Twenty-six (11%) of 237 participants had CMB, which were single in 54% of cases. CMB were deep in 11 patients, cortical in 9, and located both deep and cortical in 6. In univariate analyses, CMB were associated with age, systolic blood pressure, moderate-to-severe white matter hyperintensities, silent lacunar infarcts, and cortical atrophy. Mean (±SD) values for systolic blood pressure were 155±27 mm Hg in patients who had CMB versus 142±26 mm Hg in those who did not (P=0.017). In the adjusted models, moderate-to-severe white matter hyperintensities (P=0.009), silent lacunar infarcts (P=0.003), and global cortical atrophy (P=0.04) were independently associated with CMB. Conclusions-Prevalence of CMB in stroke-free older adults living in Atahualpa is comparable with those reported from other ethnic groups. There is a strong relationship between CMB and increased age, high systolic blood pressure, silent markers of cerebral small vessel disease, and cortical atrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1984-1986
Number of pages3
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 4 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • cerebral small vessel disease
  • Ecuador
  • ethnic groups
  • microbleed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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