Previous studies on CO2 reactivity in cerebral low flow infarcts (LFIs) included patients with lesions in the frontoparasagittal area, supraganglionic white matter, and temporoparieto-occipital zone. Supraganglionic white matter LFIs are, however, difficult to separate from non-low flow induced infarcts of the lacunar type, and temporoparieto-occipital LFIs from infarcts in the territory of the inferior stem of the middle cerebral artery. The CO2 reactivity of the middle cerebral artery was studied in 56 patients with high grade stenoses and occlusions of the internal carotid artery and LFIs (n = 9) in the frontoparasagittal border zone, territorial infarcts (n = 26), no infarcts (n = 21), and normal subjects (n = 25) by means of transcranial Doppler sonography. The aim was to investigate whether patients with LFIs have significantly lower CO2 reactivity than patients with territorial infarcts, no infarcts, and normal subjects. Patients with LFIs had the most severely reduced CO2 reactivity on the symptomatic side and CO2 reactivity was significantly lower than on the asymptomatic side. It was also lower than in patients with unilateral and bilateral internal carotid artery obstructions and territorial infarcts, asymptomatic patients, and healthy volunteers. It is concluded that LFIs are associated with significantly reduced CO2 reactivity.
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