Objective: Since little is known concerning factors which may influence long-term prognosis of patients presenting with lacunar stroke, we conducted a longitudinal study of this stroke subtype. Variables likely to affect outcome were assessed at baseline, including those from transoesophageal echocardiographic studies.
Methods: Consecutive patients presenting with first-ever lacunar stroke underwent diagnostic workup that included brain CT or MRI, carotid duplex, and transthoracic and transoesophageal echocardiography. An assessment of patients was planned at entry (baseline), and thereafter every 12 months (clinic visit or telephone call), drop-out, or endpoint. The primary endpoint was nonfatal or fatal stroke. Secondary endpoint was death due to any cause.
Results: Among 60 consecutive lacunar patients with the mean follow-up period of 3.9 years, 12 patients (20%) had stroke recurrence. The mean annual rate for stroke was 5.2%, and for death 2.8%. For multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis, the following three variables with the values of p < 0.1 after univariate testing were chosen: age (p = 0.095); aortic atheroma (p = 0.066); and any source of embolism from heart (p = 0.007). Any source of embolism from heart was the only factor which significantly enhanced the risk of stroke recurrence (p = 0.015). Using Kaplan-Meier life table analysis, the curves of percent free of recurrent stroke were significantly different (log rank test p = 0.002).
Conclusions: Until the mechanism of lacunar stroke is better understood, it is reasonable to suggest that its investigation and prevention should be directed at all potential causes of future strokes including cardioembolism.
Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel