Lacunar stroke

Expert Rev Neurother. 2009 Feb;9(2):179-96. doi: 10.1586/14737175.9.2.179.


Lacunar infarcts or small subcortical infarcts result from occlusion of a single penetrating artery and account for one quarter of cerebral infarctions. Patients with a lacunar infarct usually present with a classical lacunar syndrome (pure motor hemiparesis, pure sensory syndrome, sensorimotor stroke, ataxic hemiparesis or dysarthria-clumsy hand) and, less frequently, an atypical lacunar syndrome. Hypertension and diabetes mellitus are major risk factors for lacunar stroke. Lacunar infarcts show a paradoxical clinical course with a favorable prognosis in the short term, characterized by a low early mortality and reduced functional disability on hospital discharge, but with an increased risk of death, stroke recurrence and dementia in the mid- and long term. Asymptomatic progression of small-vessel disease is a typical feature of the lacunar infarcts. For this reason, lacunar infarction should be regarded as a potentially severe condition rather than a relatively benign disorder and, therefore, lacunar stroke patients require adequate and rigorous management and follow-up. Antiplatelet drugs, careful blood pressure control, the use of statins and modification of lifestyle risk factors are key elements in secondary prevention after lacunar stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Infarction*
  • Humans