Lacunar infarcts and white matter attenuation. Ophthalmologic and microcirculatory aspects of the pathophysiology.
By means of neurological and ophthalmologic examinations we considered whether there is a microcirculatory disorder not related to hypertension and diabetes in patients with lacunar infarcts and whether there are microcirculatory differences in patients with lacunar infarcts compared with those with white matter attenuation.
Eighty neurological patients with a lacunar infarct underwent computed tomography and, based on the results, were prospectively assigned to subgroups as follows: (1) patients without changes; (2) patients with white matter attenuation but without lacunar infarcts; (3) patients with lacunar infarcts alone; and (4) patients with both lacunar infarcts and white matter attenuation. Clinical and ophthalmologic parameters were monitored. The retinal microcirculation was studied by videofluorescence angiography. These neurological patients were compared with control ophthalmologic patients matched for age, sex, hypertensive and diabetic ocular fundus changes, and smoking habits.
On average, the 80 patients with lacunar infarcts had a significantly (P = .0001) slower arteriovenous passage time (2.6 +/- 0.7 seconds) than the ophthalmologic control subjects (1.6 +/- 0.6 seconds). Arteriovenous dye passage time through the retinal microcirculation was nearly normal (2.2 +/- 0.8 seconds) in patients with white matter attenuation alone, but was significantly prolonged in patients with lacunar infarcts (2.9 +/- 0.8 seconds, P = .00085) or both white matter attenuation and lacunar infarcts (2.8 +/- 0.4 seconds, P = .008).
Patients with lacunar infarcts are characterized by an additional disorder of retinal microcirculation independent of arterial hypertension and diabetes. Our data suggested that white matter attenuation and lacunar infarcts may be phenomena with only weak interdependence.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association