Brain stem infarction and diaschisis. A SPECT cerebral perfusion study.
We studied six patients suffering from pure, unilateral brain stem infarction to explore the association of remote cerebral and cerebellar blood flow changes with damage at different sites of this region of the brain.
We used single-photon emission computed tomography and [123I]iodoamphetamine to measure regional differences in tracer uptake. Qualitative image analysis and calculated asymmetry indexes were correlated to the location of the infarcted area on magnetic resonance imaging and to the patients' clinical findings.
Significant perfusion asymmetries were noted in the two patients with infarction in the upper pons but not in those with lesions below this level. They comprised a contralateral cerebellar and ipsilateral supratentorial hypoactivity that was most marked in the frontoparietal cortex. There was no clear relation between the patterns of cerebral or cerebellar tracer uptake and specific neurological findings.
Remote perfusion changes after pure brain stem infarction may be seen both infratentorially and supratentorially and depend on the lesion site rather than on the neurological deficit. In this context, our study confirmed damage to the corticopontocerebellar pathways as the key event in the genesis of a crossed cerebellar diaschisis. The exact mechanisms causing ipsilateral cerebral hemispheric diaschisis await further clarification.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association