The clinical and topographic spectrum of cerebellar infarcts: a clinical-magnetic resonance imaging correlation study

Ann Neurol. 1993 May;33(5):451-6. doi: 10.1002/ana.410330507.


We studied 34 consecutive patients with non-mass-producing cerebellar infarcts using a standard protocol of investigations including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We analyzed the topography of infarcts to determine the involved arterial territories and we correlated the findings with neurological dysfunction and potential causes of stroke. Sixteen patients had an infarct in the territory of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA); 2, in the territory of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA); 13, in the territory of the superior cerebellar artery (SCA); and 8 had junctional infarcts between the territories of the medial and lateral branches of the PICA or PICA/SCA territories. PICA or medial PICA territory infarcts were manifested by acute vertigo and truncal ataxia, while the patients with lateral PICA territory infarcts presented with unsteadiness, limb ataxia and dysmetria without dysarthria. Patients with infarcts in the AICA territory were characterized by limb and trunk ataxia associated with signs of lateropontine involvement. Patients with SCA territory infarcts presented with dysarthria, unsteadiness and/or vertigo, limb ataxia, and dysmetria. Cardiac embolism was the main cause of large infarcts in the territories of the PICA (8/16) or SCA (4/7). Multiple small infarcts were associated with vertebrobasilar atherosclerosis (8/12). These clinical-MRI correlations allow better definition of the topographic and etiological spectrum of cerebellar infarction, which was previously based on pathological studies in subjects with severe infarction.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cerebellar Diseases / pathology*
  • Cerebellar Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cerebellum / blood supply
  • Cerebellum / pathology*
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology
  • Cerebral Infarction / etiology
  • Cerebral Infarction / pathology*
  • Cerebral Infarction / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged