What is the mortality rate for posterior cerebral artery (PCA) stroke?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: Erek K Helseth, MD; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Overall, the risk of death in patients with posterior cerebral artery (PCA) stroke is approximately 5% in the acute hospital setting. Most deaths occur in patients with deep or proximal PCA infarctions, particularly those involving bilateral midbrain and thalamic structures. Otherwise, most PCA infarctions result in chronic visual deficits (84%), sensory abnormalities (17%), and motor weakness (6%), as documented in the Brandt et al series of 127 patients. [7]

Recovery of visual field deficits may be limited; patients may be unable to drive or read, resulting in major limitations in their quality of life, despite normal motor function.

Other neuropsychological deficits may include prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces), visual agnosia, amnesia, and alexia without agraphia. Rarely, PCA stroke results in infarction of the ipsilateral cerebral peduncle with resultant hemiplegia. Thalamic involvement can also produce contralateral sensory loss or chronic pain syndromes.

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