Clinical features, topographic patterns on DWI and etiology of thalamic infarcts

J Neurol Sci. 2008 Apr 15;267(1-2):147-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2007.10.014.


Thalamic infarcts may lead to diverse neurological disturbances, which easily results in misdiagnosis. Diffusion-weighed magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) is sensitive for the early diagnosis of the infarct and identification of the territory involved. The aim of this study was to analyze the clinical features, topographic appearance on DWI and etiology of thalamic infarcts. We reviewed clinical data, vascular risk factors, topographic patterns and etiology of thalamic infarcts. The patients were divided into 2 groups according to DWI patterns: isolated thalamic infarcts (ISO-TH) and combined thalamic infarcts (COM-TH). The former were further subdivided into 2 subgroups: inferolateral isolated thalamic infarcts (INF-TH) and non-inferolateral isolated thalamic infarcts (NON-INF) according to the vascular territories. The Patients were also divided according to etiology based on TOAST classification. The association of clinical features, DWI patterns and etiology was analyzed. Twenty nine patients were included, among which, 23 (79.3%) were ISO-TH and 6 (20.7%) were COM-TH. The most common territory involved in the ISO-TH was inferolateral territory [n=17 (73.9%)], followed by tuberothalamic artery territory [n=3 (13.0%)], and posterior choroidal artery territory [n=2 (8.7%)]. In COM-TH, the most common territory also was the inferolateral territory (n=3), followed by posterior choroidal artery territory (n=1). In 2 patients, the lesions involved more than one vascular thalamic territory. Significant association between small-vessel occlusion (SVO) and ISO-TH (INF-TH+NON-IFN) infarcts were found. Our study suggested that SVO was more prevalent in ISO-TH, and COM-TH needed more etiological examination. DWI might provide meaningful clues about etiology of thalamic infarcts.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Infarction / etiology
  • Brain Infarction / pathology*
  • Brain Infarction / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / pathology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology
  • Circle of Willis / pathology
  • Circle of Willis / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / etiology
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / pathology
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Microcirculation / pathology
  • Microcirculation / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sample Size
  • Thalamic Diseases / etiology
  • Thalamic Diseases / pathology*
  • Thalamic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Thalamus / blood supply*
  • Thalamus / pathology*
  • Thalamus / physiopathology