The syndrome of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes (MELAS) may present with symptoms that resemble a stroke. The strokelike episodes most commonly involve the posterior part of the cerebrum. We identified retrospectively 38 patients with an occipital stroke between ages 18 to 45 years during a 19-year period in a hospital serving as the only neurologic center for a specific population. The common MELAS mutation at the base pair 3243 (A3243G) of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was analyzed in blood samples. We found four patients (10%) with a clinical or molecular diagnosis of a mitochondrial disorder. Two of the patients carried the A3243G mutation, suggesting frequencies of 6% among patients younger than 45 years of age and 14% among patients younger than 30 years for this mutation. Furthermore, we identified two patients with a clinically definite mitochondrial disorder, and sequencing of the 22 transfer RNA genes revealed the mtDNA mutation A12308G in one patient. Clinical evaluation revealed that occipital stroke was part of a more complex syndrome in these four patients. These population-based findings demonstrate that the A3243G mutation in the mtDNA, and mitochondrial disorders are not uncommon among young patients with occipital stroke.