Mid to Late Life Hypertension Trends and Cerebral Small Vessel Disease in the Framingham Heart Study

Rodica Elena Petrea, Adrienne O'Donnell, Alexa S. Beiser, Mohammad Habes, Hugo Aparicio, Charles DeCarli, Sudha Seshadri, Jose Rafael Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The duration and lifetime pattern of hypertension is related to risk of stroke and dementia. In turn, cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) is the most frequent form of cerebrovascular disease underlying dementia and stroke. Thus, study of the relation of mid to late life hypertension trends with CSVD late in life will help understand hypertension's role and inform preventive efforts of CSVD consequences. We studied 1686 Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort participants free of stroke and dementia, who were examined in mid and late life, and had available brain magnetic resonance imaging during late life. We related hypertension trends between mid and late life (normotension-normotension N-N, normotension-hypertension N-H, hypertension-hypertension H-H) to cerebral microbleeds and covert brain infarcts (CBI), overall and stratified by brain topography. We used multivariable logistic regression analyses to calculate odds ratio and 95% CIs for CSVD measures. The prevalence of CSVD in late life was 8% for cerebral microbleeds and 13% for covert brain infarcts and increased with longer hypertension exposure across all brain regions. Compared with the trend pattern of N-N, both N-H and H-H trends had higher odds of mixed cerebral microbleeds (2.71 [1.08-6.80], and 3.44 [1.39-8.60], respectively); H-H also had higher odds of any cerebral microbleeds or covert brain infarcts (1.54 [1.12-2.20]), and any covert brain infarcts (1.55 [1.08-2.20]). The burden of CSVD also increased with longer hypertension exposure. Our results highlight hypertension having a major role in subclinical CSVD, across subtypes and brain regions, and call attention to improve recognition and treatment of hypertension early in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-714
Number of pages8
JournalHypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • cerebral small vessel diseases
  • epidemiology
  • hypertension
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • odds ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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