(HealthDay News) – Serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a marker of vascular permeability, are significantly higher in stroke patients with cerebral microbleeds.

Pooja Dassan, MD, from University College London, and colleagues measured the level of VEGF in blood taken from 20 acute ischemic stroke patients within 24 hours of symptom onset. The presence of cerebral microbleeds was determined by magnetic resonance imaging.

The researchers found that 25% of patients had cerebral microbleeds. Patients with microbleeds had significantly higher median VEGF levels than patients without microbleeds. The two groups were similar in terms of infarct volume and stroke severity.

“An increase in vascular permeability secondary to a raised VEGF level may have a role in the genesis of cerebral microbleeds in patients with acute ischemic stroke,” Dassan and colleagues conclude. “VEGF level, as a potential marker for vascular leakage and microbleeding, deserves further investigation as a prognostic marker for bleeding risk in acute stroke (e.g., before thrombolytic therapy).”

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