Cerebral Small Vessel Disease-Related Dementia: More Questions Than Answers

Fanny M. Elahi, Michael M. Wang, James F. Meschia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) has emerged as a common factor driving age-dependent diseases, including stroke and dementia. CSVD-related dementia will affect a growing fraction of the aging population, requiring improved recognition, understanding, and treatments. This review describes evolving criteria and imaging biomarkers for the diagnosis of CSVD-related dementia. We describe diagnostic challenges, particularly in the context of mixed pathologies and the absence of highly effective biomarkers for CSVD-related dementia. We review evidence regarding CSVD as a risk factor for developing neurodegenerative disease and potential mechanisms by which CSVD leads to progressive brain injury. Finally, we summarize recent studies on the effects of major classes of cardiovascular medicines relevant to CSVD-related cognitive impairment. Although many key questions remain, the increased attention to CSVD has resulted in a sharper vision for what will be needed to meet the upcoming challenges imposed by this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-660
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • Alzheimer disease
  • biomarker
  • blood-brain barrier
  • dementia
  • magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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