Background: Little is known about clinical features and prognosis of patients with ischaemic stroke caused by infarction in the territory of the anterior cerebral artery (ACA). This single centre, retrospective study was conducted with the following objectives: a) to describe the clinical characteristics and short-term outcome of stroke patients with ACA infarction as compared with that of patients with ischaemic stroke due to middle cerebral artery (MCA) and posterior cerebral artery (PCA) infarctions, and b) to identify predictors of ACA stroke.
Methods: Fifty-one patients with ACA stroke were included in the "Sagrat Cor Hospital of Barcelona Stroke Registry" during a period of 19 years (1986-2004). Data from stroke patients are entered in the stroke registry following a standardized protocol with 161 items regarding demographics, risk factors, clinical features, laboratory and neuroimaging data, complications and outcome. The characteristics of these 51 patients with ACA stroke were compared with those of the 1355 patients with MCA infarctions and 232 patients with PCA infarctions included in the registry.
Results: Infarctions of the ACA accounted for 1.3% of all cases of stroke (n = 3808) and 1.8% of cerebral infarctions (n = 2704). Stroke subtypes included cardioembolic infarction in 45.1% of patients, atherothrombotic infarction in 29.4%, lacunar infarct in 11.8%, infarct of unknown cause in 11.8% and infarction of unusual aetiology in 2%. In-hospital mortality was 7.8% (n = 4). Only 5 (9.8%) patients were symptom-free at hospital discharge. Speech disturbances (odds ratio [OR] = 0.48) and altered consciousness (OR = 0.31) were independent variables of ACA stroke in comparison with MCA infarction, whereas limb weakness (OR = 9.11), cardioembolism as stroke mechanism (OR = 2.49) and sensory deficit (OR = 0.35) were independent variables associated with ACA stroke in comparison with PCA infarction.
Conclusion: Cardioembolism is the main cause of brain infarction in the territory of the ACA. Several clinical features are more frequent in stroke patients with ACA infarction than in patients with ischaemic stroke due to infarction in the MCA and PCA territories.