Small intracerebral hemorrhages have a low spot sign prevalence and are less likely to expand

PREDICT/Sunnybrook ICH CTA study group

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hematoma expansion is a major predictor of morbidity and mortality after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Both baseline hematoma volume and the CT-angiogram (CTA) spot sign predict hematoma expansion. Because the CTA spot sign may represent foci of active hemorrhage, we hypothesized that patients with smaller baseline hematoma volumes are less likely to be spot sign positive, and therefore less likely to expand. Aim: We sought to validate our prior finding that small hematomas are unlikely to expand, and to determine the relationship between baseline hematoma volume, spot sign status, and risk of hematoma expansion. Methods: Data were from the prospective PREDICT ICH study. Patients presenting within 6 h of symptom onset with completed baseline CT, CTA, and follow-up CT were included. Baseline hematoma volume was categorized a priori (<3 mL, 3-10 mL, 10-20 mL, >20 mL). The primary outcome was significant hematoma expansion (≥6 mL, ≥12.5 mL or ≥33%) and secondary outcomes were early neurological worsening, good clinical outcome (modified Rankin Scale 0-3), and mortality at 90 days. Results: Among 315 patients meeting the inclusion criteria, baseline hematoma volume category predicted absolute hematoma expansion (p < 0.001), spot sign prevalence (p < 0.001), early neurologic worsening (p = 0.002), clinical outcome (p < 0.001), and mortality (p < 0.001). Very small hematomas (<3 mL) were unlikely to be spot positive (7.7%), unlikely to expand (2.6%), and were associated with a 73% chance of good clinical outcome. Spot sign appeared to be most predictive of expansion in the 3-10 mL baseline hematoma volume category. Conclusion: Very small hematomas are unlikely to expand and have a low spot sign prevalence. Hemostatic therapy trials may be best targeted at hemorrhages >3 mL in volume.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Stroke
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • hematoma expansion
  • hemorrhagic stroke
  • prognosis
  • spot sign


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