Cerebral amyloid angiopathy–related inflammation (CAA-ri) is an important diagnosis to reach in clinical practice because many patients with the disease respond to immunosuppressive therapy. Reliable noninvasive diagnostic criteria for CAA-ri would allow some patients to avoid the risk of brain biopsy.
To test the sensitivity and specificity of clinical and neuroimaging-based criteria for CAA-ri.
Design, Setting, and Participants
We modified the previously proposed clinicoradiological criteria and retrospectively analyzed clinical medical records and magnetic resonance imaging fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and gradient-echo scans obtained from individuals with CAA-ri and noninflammatory CAA. At 2 referral centers between October 1, 1995, and May 31, 2013, and between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2011, participants included 17 individuals with pathologically confirmed CAA-ri and 37 control group members with pathologically confirmed noninflammatory CAA. The control group was further divided into those with past lobar intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) (n = 21) and those with cerebral microbleeds only and no history of ICH (n = 16). The dates of our analysis were September 1, 2012, to August 31, 2015.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The sensitivity and specificity of prespecified criteria for probable CAA-ri (requiring asymmetric white matter hyperintensities extending to the subcortical white matter) and possible CAA-ri (not requiring the white matter hyperintensities to be asymmetric).
The 17 patients in the CAA-ri group were a mean (SD) of 68 (8) years and 8 (47%) were women. In the CAA-ri group, 14 of 17 (82%) met the criteria for both probable and possible CAA-ri. In the control group having noninflammatory CAA with lobar ICH, 1 of 21 (5%) met the criteria for possible CAA-ri, and none met the criteria for probable CAA-ri. In the control group having noninflammatory CAA with no ICH, 11 of 16 (69%) met the criteria for possible CAA-ri, and 1 of 16 (6%) met the criteria for probable CAA-ri. These findings yielded a sensitivity and specificity of 82% and 97%, respectively, for the probable criteria and a sensitivity and specificity of 82% and 68%, respectively, for the possible criteria.
Conclusions and Relevance
Our data suggest that a reliable diagnosis of CAA-ri can be reached from basic clinical and magnetic resonance imaging information alone, with good sensitivity and excellent specificity.