We studied forty patients with CT-proven thalamic infarcts without involvement of the superficial territory of the posterior cerebral artery. The delineation into four arterial thalamic territories (inferolateral, tuberothalamic, posterior choroidal, paramedian) corresponded clinically to four different syndromes. The most common etiologies were lacunar infarction, large artery atherosclerosis with presumed artery-to-artery embolism, cardioembolism, and migrainous stroke. We found no risk factor other than age or oral contraceptive use in six patients. One patient died in the acute phase. During follow-up (45.6 months), the stroke or death rate was 7.4% per year. Delayed pain developed in three patients and abnormal movements in three. Late disability was mainly secondary to persisting neuropsychological dysfunction (thalamic dementia).