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Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy With Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy With Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy



CADASIL is a genetic problem of the blood vessels. It happens when the thickening of blood vessel walls blocks the flow of blood to the brain. This can lead to migraines, strokes, and dementia.


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CADASIL is caused by a mutation on the NOTCH3 gene.

Risk Factors

The main risk factor is having a parent who has CADASIL.


For some people with CADASIL, symptoms start around age 30. Others do not have symptoms until much later in life.

Problems may be:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Stroke-like episodes
  • Mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. The doctor will ask if there is a family history of CADASIL or early onset strokes, dementia, seizures, or migraines. A physical exam will be done.

Images may be taken of the brain. This can be done with an MRI scan.

These tests will be done to look for signs of the NOTCH3 gene:


There is no cure for CADASIL. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. Medicine may be given to ease:

  • Migraines
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Cognitive issues

Other medicines may be given to reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack .


There are no known ways to prevent CADASIL.





  • Bersano, A., Bedini, G., et al. CADASIL: treatment and management options. Curr Treatment Options Neurol, 2017; 19 (9): 31.
  • CADASIL. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/cadasil.
  • Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cerebral-autosomal-dominant-arteriopathy-with-subcortical-infarcts-and-leukoencephalopathy-cadasil.
  • Migraine in adults EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/migraine-in-adults.
  • Stroke rehabilitation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/stroke-rehabilitation-in-adults.


  • Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.