Cerebral microbleeds have emerged as an important new imaging marker of cerebral small vessel disease. With the development of MRI techniques that are exquisitely sensitive to paramagnetic blood products, such as T2*-weighted gradient-recalled echo and susceptibility-weighted sequences, microbleeds have been detected in ever-increasing numbers of patients in stroke and cognitive clinics, as well as in healthy older people and in a variety of other rarer diseases and syndromes. Detection of cerebral microbleeds has clinical implications with respect to the diagnosis of the underlying small vessel disease, the safety of antithrombotic use, and the risk of symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage, cognitive impairment and dementia. This article provides a guide to the detection and clinical relevance of cerebral microbleeds in different conditions based on a comprehensive review of the literature and own findings in research and clinical practice.
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