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Should computed tomography appearance of lacunar stroke influence patient management?
  1. G E Mead,
  2. S C Lewis,
  3. J M Wardlaw,
  4. M S Dennis,
  5. C P Warlow
  1. Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Dr G M Mead, Department of Medical Neurology, Neurosciences Trials Unit, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK. Telephone 0044 131 537 1000; fax 0044 131 332 5150; emailGEM{at}skull.dcn.ed.ac.uk

Abstract

Patients with a lacunar stroke syndrome may have cortical infarcts on brain imaging rather than lacunar infarcts, and patients with the clinical features of a small cortical stroke (partial anterior circulation syndrome, PACS) may have lacunar infarcts on imaging. The aim was to compare risk factors and outcome in lacunar syndrome (LACS) with cortical infarct, LACS with lacunar infarct, PACS with cortical infarct, and PACS with lacunar infarct to determine whether the clinical syndrome should be modified according to brain imaging.

 As part of a hospital stroke registry, patients with first ever stroke from 1990 to 1998 were assessed by a stroke physician who assigned a clinical classification using clinical features only. A neuroradiologist classified recent clinically relevant infarcts on brain imaging as cortical, posterior cerebral artery territory or lacunar.

 Of 1772 first ever strokes, there were 637 patients with PACS and 377 patients with LACS who had CT or MRI. Recent infarcts were seen in 395 PACS and 180 LACS. Atrial fibrillation was more common in PACS with cortical than lacunar infarcts (OR 2.3, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.9–5.5), and in LACS with cortical than lacunar infarcts (OR 3.9, 1.2–12). Severe ipsilateral carotid stenosis or occlusion was more common in PACS with cortical than lacunar infarcts (OR 3.5, 1.3–9.5); and in LACS with cortical than lacunar infarcts (OR 3.7, 1.1–12).

 In conclusion, patients with cortical infarcts are more likely to have severe ipsilateral carotid stenosis or atrial fibrillation than those with lacunar infarcts irrespective of the presenting clinical syndrome. Brain imaging should modify the clinical classification and influence patient investigation.

  • lacunar infarcts
  • cortical infarcts
  • Oxfordshire Community Stroke Project classification

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