Prevalence and natural history of superficial siderosis a population-based study

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22 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose-Superficial siderosis (SS) is characterized by hemosiderin deposition in the superficial layers of the central nervous system and can be seen during postmortem examination or with iron-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging techniques. The distribution of SS may predict the probable underlying cause. This study aimed to report the prevalence and natural history of SS in a population-based study. Methods-Brain magnetic resonance imaging scans from the MCSA (Mayo Clinic Study of Aging), a population-based study of residents 50 to 89 years of age in Olmsted County, Minnesota, were reviewed. Participants with imaging consistent with SS were identified from 2011 through 2016. An inverse probability weighting approach was used to convert our observed frequencies to population prevalence of SS. Additional data abstracted included amyloid positron emission tomography, Apolipoprotein E genotype, coexisting cerebral microbleeds, and extent of SS. Results-A total of 1412 participants had eligible magnetic resonance imaging scans. Two participants had infratentorial SS, restricted to the posterior fossa. Thirteen participants had cortical SS involving the cerebral convexities (7 focal and 6 disseminated). Only 3 of the participants with cortical SS (23%) also had cerebral microbleeds. The population prevalence of SS was 0.21% (95% confidence interval, 0-0.45) in those 50 to 69 years old and 1.43% (confidence interval, 0.53-2.34) in those over 69 years old. Apolipoprotein E ϵ2 allele was more common in those with SS (57.1% versus 15.0%; P<0.001). Compared with participants without SS, those with SS were also more likely to have a positive amyloid positron emission tomographic scan (76.9% versus 29.8%; P<0.001). Conclusions-SS may be encountered in the general elderly population. The association with increased amyloid burden and Apolipoprotein E ϵ2 genotype supports cerebral amyloid angiopathy as the most common mechanism. Longitudinal follow-up is needed to evaluate the risk of subsequent hemorrhage in cases of incidentally discovered SS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3210-3214
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2017


  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Hemosiderin
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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