BACKGROUND: We hypothesized that acute simultaneous multiple lacunar infarcts (sMLI) may have different clinico-radiological characteristics compared to acute single lacunar infarcts (SLI).
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed stroke patients with sMLI or SLI in a consecutively collected stroke registry with a predefined long-term clinical follow-up. Clinical characteristics, including vascular risk factors, rheological profiles, premorbid functional status, and clinical outcome were evaluated. In addition, radiological characteristics, including white matter ischemic changes, previous lacunes, microbleeds, and concomitant intra- or extracranial arterial stenosis were evaluated.
RESULTS: Of the 548 acute ischemic stroke patients, sMLI was found in 23 (13.5%) and SLI in 148 (86.5%). There was no difference in vascular risk factors and rheological profiles between the two groups, except for advanced age and more frequent previous history of stroke in the sMLI group. The sMLI group also showed more previous lacunes (p < 0.001) and microbleeds (p < 0.001). A cardioembolic or atherothrombotic stroke mechanism was rare in both groups. Recurrent strokes were more frequent in the sMLI group.
CONCLUSIONS: The main pathophysiology of sMLI may be small artery disease. However, clinico-radiological characteristics suggest that sMLI may be a more severe entity of small artery disease compared to SLI.
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