Background: The significance of the stenotic lesions of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) in Asian patients with striatocapsular small, deep infarctions (SSDIs) remains undetermined.
Objectives: To investigate the frequency of stenotic lesions of the MCA in patients with SSDIs and to evaluate clinical and radiological features in those same patients.
Setting: Acute stroke registry of a university hospital.
Patients and methods: One hundred two Korean patients with acute symptomatic SSDIs underwent cerebral angiography or magnetic resonance angiography and echocardiography. We divided these patients into 2 groups-patients with and without MCA occlusive lesions. The clinical and magnetic resonance image features were compared between these 2 groups.
Results: Thirty-seven patients (36%) had an ipsilateral proximal MCA lesion, whereas 65 patients (64%) showed no MCA abnormality on cerebral angiography or magnetic resonance angiography. Among 65 patients without an MCA lesion, 18 had an embolic source; the remaining 37 patients had no demonstrable embolic source. There were significant differences in the temporal profile and magnetic resonance imaging findings between the groups. Although the type of lacunar syndrome and the volume of infarcts did not differ between the groups, the unstable temporal profile and magnetic resonance imaging findings of multiple small infarcts in the symptomatic hemisphere were frequently observed in patients with MCA lesions.
Conclusions: The proximal MCA lesion was a common cause of SSDIs in Korean patients. Depending on the existence of an MCA lesion, the clinical course and magnetic resonance imaging feature of the patients with SSDIs were different.