Objective: To evaluate incidence and prognosis of lacunar stroke in a prospective, population-based patient registry.
Methods: The authors included first-ever strokes occurring between 1994 and 1998. They assessed incidence, risk factors, mortality, and recurrence in patients with lacunar stroke.
Results: The authors identified 491 patients (15.3%) with lacunar stroke (252 men and 239 women) and 2,153 patients (67.3%) with nonlacunar stroke (998 men and 1,155 women). Crude annual incidence rate for a first-ever lacunar stroke was 33.0/100,000 (95% CI 30.2 to 36.0). At the univariate logistic regression analysis among patients with lacunar stroke there was a higher proportion of cigarette smoking and hypercholesterolemia and a lower proportion of chronic atrial fibrillation than in patients with nonlacunar stroke. For lacunar stroke, the 30-day case-fatality rate was 4.3% (95% CI 2.5 to 6.1) and the 1-year case-fatality rate was 13.0% (95% CI 10.0 to 16.0). During the first year of follow-up the average annual stroke recurrence rate was lower in patients with lacunar (2.83%; 95% CI 1.36 to 4.30) than in those with nonlacunar stroke (5.10%; 95% CI 4.17 to 6.03) while from the second year onward, rates were similar in both groups.
Conclusion: In the short term, patients with nonlacunar stroke had more vascular events, but in the long term, the risk of death and of stroke recurrence was similar.