Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Original Article

Clinical classification for lacunar infarct An investigation of 130 consecutive cases of lacunar infarctions

Tomoyuki Ohara, M.D.1), Yasumasa Yamamoto, M.D.1), Kaiyo Oiwa, M.D.1), Masamichi Hayashi, M.D.1) and Masanori Nakagawa, M.D.2)

1)Department of Neurology, Kyoto Second Red Cross Hospital
2)Department of Neurology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine

A lacunar infarct is defined as the occlusion of a single perforating artery. Certain researchers have proposed that patients with lacunar infarcts can be classified into two clinically distinct entities: patients with a single, symptomatic lacunar infarct, and patients with multiple lacunar infarcts together with hypertension and leukoaraiosis. The present study attempted to delineate the characteristics of lacunar infarcts and evaluate the validity of the aforementioned hypothesis.
A total of 130 consecutive patients with first-time symptomatic lacunar infarct were studied. All patients were dichotomized into two groups according to two different kinds of models as follows. Model-1: patients with a single lacune and patients with multiple lacunes; and Model-2: patients with large lacune and patients with small lacune. Associated factors for the multiple lacune group compared with the single lacune group as well as the large lacune group compared with the small lacune group, were analyzed by multivariate logistic regression analysis. Associated factors included age, sex, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, smoking, extra-cranial and intra-cranial vascular lesions, extent of lacunes and white matter lesions, progression status and blood pressure in the acute stage, and coagulation markers such as fibrinogen, thrombin-antithrombin complex, D-dimer, beta-thromboglobulin, platelet factor 4.
Results for Model-1: hypertension (age-and sex-adjusted OR: 2.58, p=0.017) and elevated systolic blood pressure (>160 mmHg for the mean value during the first post-ictal week; OR: 2.55, p=0.016) were significantly associated with the multiple lacune group. Large lacunes (>10 mm in diameter) were negatively associated with the multiple lacune group (OR: 0.38, p=0.017). Association between confluent white matter lesions and the multiple lacune group approached significance (OR: 2.16, p=0.056). Results for Model-2: female sex (OR: 0.39, p=0.021), mild stenosis of intracranial and extracranial arteries (<25%) (intracranial; OR: 5.42, p=0.0042, extracranial; OR: 3.30, p=0.016), progressing stroke (OR: 6.77, p<0.0001), and high levels of TAT (>3 ng/ml) (OR: 2.80, p=0.039) were significantly associated with the large lacune group. Multiple lacunes (OR: 0.38, p=0.016) and confluent white matter lesions (OR: 0.28, p=0.007) exhibited a significant negative association with the large lacune group.
In conclusion, underlying vasculopathy in the presence of multiple lacunes may correspond to lipohyalinosis resulting from hypertension. Moreover, large lacune may correspond to microatheroma at the orifice of penetrating arteries.

(CLINICA NEUROL, 45: 6|12, 2005)
key words: lacunar infarction, multiple lacunar infarction, white matter lesion, major artery disease, branch atheromatous disease

(Received: 28-Jan-04)