Completeness of circle of Willis and white matter hyperintensities in patients with severe internal carotid artery stenosis

  • Huirong Ye
  • Xiumei Wu
  • Jiangzhi Yan
  • Jian Wang
  • Jianting Qiu
  • Yujie WangEmail author
Original Article



We investigated whether completeness of the circle of Willis (CoW) protected patients with severe internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis against white matter hyperintensities (WMHs).


We included 115 patients with unilateral ICA stenosis ≥ 70%. The completeness of CoW was assessed and WMHs were rated on a visual scale. The score of deep and periventricular WMHs was compared between patients with complete and incomplete CoW and between the two hemispheres, ipsilateral and contralateral to stenosed ICA.


We included 115 patients with severe ICA stenosis, 60 patients had a complete CoW (52.17%) and 55 had an incomplete CoW (47.83%). The patients with incomplete CoW had higher score of deep WMHs (OR = 1.82, 95% CI 1.08–3.06, P = 0.023) and periventricular WMHs (OR = 4.53, 95% CI 2.09–9.81, P = 0.000) than those with complete CoW. In the patients with incomplete CoW, the score of deep WMHs (OR = 4.14, 95% CI 1.33–12.93, P = 0.014) and periventricular WMHs (OR = 5.46, 95% CI 1.16–25.62, P = 0.032) was higher in the hemisphere ipsilateral to stenosed ICA than that in the contralateral hemisphere. In the patients with complete CoW, there was no significant difference in the score of deep WMHs (OR = 2.10, 95% CI 0.37–11.91, P = 0.401) and periventricular WMHs (OR = 2.83, 95% CI 0.99–8.05, P = 0.051) between the ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres to stenosed ICA.


The completeness of CoW protected patients with severe ICA stenosis against WMHs.


Circle of Willis White matter hyperintensities Internal carotid artery stenosis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Fondazione Società Italiana di Neurologia 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cerebrovascular Disease Center, Department of Neurology, People’s HospitalChina Medical UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China

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