Differential impact of acute lesions versus white matter hyperintensities on stroke recovery

Rachel L. Hawe, Sonja E. Findlater, Jeffrey M. Kenzie, Michael D. Hill, Stephen H. Scott, Sean P. Dukelow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background-—Understanding how the size of acute lesions and white matter hyperintensities (WMH) impact stroke recovery can improve our ability to predict outcomes and tailor treatments. The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate the role of acute lesion volume and WMH volume on longitudinal recovery of specific sensory, motor, and cognitive impairments after stroke using robotic and clinical measures. Methods and Results-—Eighty-two individuals were assessed at 1, 6, 12, and 26 weeks poststroke with robotic tasks and commonly used clinical measures. The volumes of acute lesions and WMH were measured on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images. Linear mixed models were used to investigate the role of acute lesions and WMH on parameters derived from the robotic tasks and clinical measures. Regression analysis determined the added value of acute lesion and WMH volumes along with measures of initial performance to predict outcomes at 6 months. Acute lesion volume has widespread effects on sensory, motor, and overall functional recovery poststroke. The impact of WMH was specific to cognitive impairments. Apart from the robotic position sense task, neither lesion volume nor WMH measure had significant ability to predict outcomes at 6 months over using initial impairment as measured by robotic assessments alone. Conclusions-—While acute lesion volume and WMH may impact different impairments poststroke, their clinical utility in predicting outcomes at 6 months poststroke is limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere009360
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research operating grant (MOP 106662) and a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Grant-in-Aid. Hawe was supported by a University of Calgary Eyes High Postdoctoral Fellowship. Kenzie and Findlater were supported by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors.


  • Lesion volume
  • Rehabilitation
  • Robotics
  • Stroke recovery
  • White matter hyperintensities


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