Are hypertension or cardiac embolism likely causes of lacunar infarction?
We tested the hypothesis that hypertension is more common and cardiac embolism less common in patients with lacunar infarction than in patients with other types of cerebral infarction. We studied risk factor profiles in a series of 102 consecutive patients with a lacunar infarct and 202 consecutive patients with a carotid artery-distribution infarct involving the cortex registered in the Oxfordshire Community Stroke Project, a community-based study of first-ever stroke. The two groups did not differ in the prevalence of prestroke hypertension (defined in a number of ways) or in the prevalence of markers of sustained hypertension. The presence of atrial fibrillation and a history of myocardial infarction, particularly during the 6 weeks before the stroke, were significantly more common in the group with carotid-distribution infarcts involving the cortex. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of other accepted risk factors for ischemic stroke, including previous transient ischemic attack, cervical bruit, diabetes mellitus, peripheral vascular disease, or cigarette smoking. Our results suggest that hypertension is no more important in the development of lacunar infarction than it is in the development of other types of ischemic stroke that are presumed to be due to atherosclerotic thromboembolism in a major cerebral artery. Our data support the autopsy evidence that cardioembolic occlusion is an unusual cause of lacunar infarction.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association