Clinical lacunar syndromes as predictors of lacunar infarctsA comparison of acute clinical lacunar syndromes and findingson diffusion-weighted MRI
Objectives – To evaluate if patients with acute lacunar syndromes have acute lacunar infarcts or other types of cerebral lesions on diffusion-weighted MRI. Methods – Patients with acute lacunar syndromes underwent echo-planar diffusion MRI of the brain within 3 days after stroke onset. Localization and size of lesions with hyperintense signal were determined, compared with clinical characteristics and with findings on follow-up T2-weighted MRI. Results – Twenty-three patients participated in the study. Thirteen patients had pure motor stroke, 1 pure sensory stroke, 8 sensorimotor stroke, and 1 ataxic hemiparesis. Twenty-two patients had at least one lesion with increased signal on diffusion-weighted MR images. These acute lesions were in the internal capsule/basal ganglia/thalamus in 13 patients, subcortical white matter in 5 patients, brainstem in 2 patients, cortex (multiple small lesions) in 1 patient, and cortex+basal ganglia in 1 patient. The median volume of the lesions was 0.6 ml on the initial examination and on follow-up, of 17 patients after 1 to 5 months, 0.5 ml. Conclusions – Almost all patients with acute ischemic lacunar syndromes have acute lesions on echo-planar diffusion-weighted MRI within 3 days after stroke onset. These lesions are mostly small and subcortical, compatible with lacunar infarcts caused by single penetrating artery occlusion, but in a minor proportion of patients (2 of 23 in our study) a cortical involvement is found.