Diffusion-weighted MRI in acute lacunar syndromes: A clinical- radiological correlation study

Wouter J. Schonewille, Stanley Tuhrim, Michael B. Singer, Scott W. Atlas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - Clinical-radiological correlation studies in lacunar syndromes have been handicapped by the low sensitivity of CT and standard MRI for acute small-vessel infarction and their difficulty in differentiating between acute and chronic lesions. Methods - We prospectively studied 43 patients presenting with a classic lacunar syndrome using diffusion-weighted MRI, a technique with a high sensitivity and specificity for acute small-vessel infarction. Results - All patients were scanned within 6 days of stroke onset. An acute infarction was identified in all patients. Pure motor stroke was associated with lesions in the posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC), pons, corona radiata, and medial medulla; ataxic hemipareses with lesions in the PLIC, corona radiata, pons, and insular cortex; sensorimotor stroke with lesions in the PLIC and lateral medulla; dysarthria-clumsy hand syndrome with lesions in the PLIC and caudate nucleus; and pure sensory stroke with a lesion in the thalamus. Supratentorial lesions extended into neighboring anatomic structures in 48% of the patients. Conclusions - Lacunar syndromes can be caused by lesions in a variety of locations, and specific locations can cause a variety of lacunar syndromes. Extension of lesions into neighboring structures in patients with lacunar syndromes appears to be more frequent than previously described in studies using CT and standard MRI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2066-2069
Number of pages4
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1999


  • Diffusion
  • Lacunar infarction
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Stroke, acute


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