Differences Between Ischemic Stroke Subtypes in Vascular Outcomes Support a Distinct Lacunar Ischemic Stroke Arteriopathy: A Prospective, Hospital-Based Study

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Background and Purpose-Whether and how the arterial pathology underlying lacunar ischemic stroke differs from the atherothrombotic processes causing most other ischemic strokes is still debated. Different risks of recurrent stroke and MI after lacunar versus nonlacunar ischemic stroke may support a distinct lacunar arteriopathy.

Methods-We prospectively followed a hospital-based cohort of 809 first-ever ischemic stroke patients for 1 to 4 years. We compared risks of death, recurrent stroke, and MI in patients with lacunar versus nonlacunar stroke, and performed an updated meta-analysis of recurrent stroke subtype patterns.

Results-During 1725 person-years of follow-up, 109 patients had a recurrent stroke and 31 had MI. All patients at baseline, and 93% with recurrent stroke, had brain imaging and more than half with recurrent stroke had diffusion-weighted MRI. Overall, there was no difference in recurrence risk after lacunar vs nonlacunar stroke, although there was a trend toward a lower recurrence risk in the early weeks after lacunar stroke. Lacunar recurrence was more likely after lacunar than nonlacunar stroke (OR, 6.5; 95% CI, 2.4-17.5; updated meta-analysis OR, 6.8; 95% CI, 4.2-11.2). MI risk was nonsignificantly lower after lacunar than nonlacunar stroke (rate ratio, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.2-1.1; rate ratio after excluding patients with previous ischemic heart disease: 0.3; 95% CI, 0.1-0.9).

Conclusions-Our finding of a trend toward a lower MI risk after lacunar vs nonlacunar stroke and confirmation of both a lower early recurrence risk after lacunar stroke and a tendency of recurrent stroke subtypes to "breed true" support the notion of a distinct nonatherothrombotic lacunar arteriopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3679-3684
Number of pages6
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • ischemic stroke
  • lacunar
  • myocardial infarction
  • outcome
  • recurrent stroke

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