Clinical Characteristics and Outcome of Patients with Lacunar Infarcts and Concurrent Embolic Ischemic Lesions

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  • WAKE-UP investigators

PURPOSE: Lacunar infarcts are thought to result from occlusion of small penetrating arteries due to microatheroma and lipohyalinosis, pathognomonic for cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD). Concurrent embolic ischemic lesions indicate a different stroke mechanism. The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical characteristics and outcome of patients with lacunar infarcts and concurrent embolic infarcts on diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI).

METHODS: All patients screened for the WAKE-UP trial ( number, NCT01525290) were reviewed for acute lacunar infarcts and concurrent embolic lesions on baseline DWI. Clinical characteristics and outcome were compared between lacunar infarct patients with and without concurrent embolic lesions.

RESULTS: Of 244 patients with an acute lacunar infarct, 20 (8.2%) had concurrent acute embolic infarcts. Compared to patients with a lacunar infarct only, patients with concurrent embolic infarcts were older (mean age 69 years vs. 63 years; p = 0.031), more severely affected (median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale [NIHSS] score 5 vs. 4; p = 0.046), and-among those randomized-had worse functional outcome at 90 days (median modified Rankin Scale [mRS] 3 vs. 1; p = 0.011).

CONCLUSION: Approximately 8% of lacunar infarct patients show concurrent embolic lesions suggesting a stroke etiology other than CSVD. These patients are more severely affected and have a worse functional outcome illustrating the need for a thorough diagnostic work-up of possible embolic sources even in patients with an imaging-defined diagnosis of lacunar infarcts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical neuroradiology
Pages (from-to)511-516
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

    Research areas

  • Embolic stroke, Lacunar infarct, MRI, Stroke etiology, WAKE-UP

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