DOI: 10.25259/jnrp_351_2023 ISSN: 0976-3155

Cerebral microbleeds: Causes, clinical relevance, and imaging approach – A narrative review

Amit Agarwal, Pranav Ajmera, Preetika Sharma, Sangam Kanekar
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • General Neuroscience

With advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences, there has been increased identification of microbleed/microhemorrhage across different population ages, but more commonly in the older age group. These are defined as focal areas of signal loss on gradient echo MRI sequences (T2* and susceptibility-weighted images), which are usually <5 mm in size representing hemosiderin deposition with wide ranges of etiologies. Susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) has become a routine MRI sequence for practices across the globe resulting in better identification of these entities. Over the past decade, there has been a better understanding of the clinical significance of microbleeds including their prognostic value in ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Cerebral amyloid angiopathy and hypertension are the two most common causes of microbleeds following peripheral and central pattern, respectively. In the younger age group, microbleeds are more common due to familial conditions or a wide range of hypercoagulable states. This review outlines the pathophysiology, prevalence, and clinical implications of cerebral microhemorrhage along with a brief discussion about the technical considerations of SWI.

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