Sensory symptoms and signs and results of quantitative sensory thermal testing in patients with lacunar infarct syndromes.
Quantitative data on sensory impairment in stroke patients are limited. We measured the perception thresholds for temperature and thermal pain in patients with different lacunar syndromes, correlated the results with clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings, and studied the long-term prognosis of sensory dysfunction.
Quantitative thermal testing was performed by means of the Marstock method in 39 patients with lacunar syndromes (pure motor, sensorimotor, or pure sensory stroke) and MRI findings compatible with occlusion of a single perforating artery. Thresholds for cold, warmth, and heat pain were obtained bilaterally from the cheek, hand, and leg. The unaffected side was used as control. Follow-up included clinical assessments and repeated quantitative thermal testing (in 17 patients) up to 1 year after stroke onset.
Patients with pure sensory stroke and sensorimotor stroke (n = 22) had a significant thermal hypoesthesia on the affected side for all modalities and test locations. Patients with pure motor stroke (n = 17) exhibited thermal hypoesthesia for cold and heat pain in the hand and for cold perception in the leg. On MRI, infarcts causing pure motor and sensorimotor stroke were predominantly lenticulocapsular, while a thalamic site of infarction was found in pure sensory stroke. The prognosis of sensory impairment was favorable, except for poststroke pain syndromes in three patients.
Quantitative thermal testing confirmed an involvement of spinothalamic pathways in lacunar infarcts causing pure sensory and sensorimotor stroke and revealed a subclinical sensory impairment in patients with pure motor stroke. Infarction sites were similar in patients with pure motor and sensorimotor stroke.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association