What is the pathogenesis of lacunar ischemic stroke?

Updated: May 27, 2020
  • Author: Edward C Jauch, MD, MS, FAHA, FACEP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

Lacunar strokes represent 13-20% of all ischemic strokes. They result from occlusion of the penetrating branches of the MCA, the lenticulostriate arteries, or the penetrating branches of the circle of Willis, vertebral artery, or basilar artery. The great majority of lacunar strokes are related to hypertension. (See the image below.)

Axial noncontrast computed tomography (CT) scan de Axial noncontrast computed tomography (CT) scan demonstrates a focal area of hypodensity in the left posterior limb of the internal capsule in a 60-year-old man with acute onset of right-sided weakness. The lesion demonstrates high signal on the fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequence (middle image) and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan (right image), with low signal on the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps indicating an acute lacunar infarction. Lacunar infarcts are typically no more than 1.5 cm in size and can occur in the deep gray matter structures, corona radiata, brainstem, and cerebellum.

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