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December 1991

Lacunar Stroke: Relationship Between Atypical Etiology and Infarct Size?

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences Stanford University Medical Center Stanford, CA 94305

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(12):1215. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530240017005

To the Editor.  —A number of recent publications1-3 have emphasized that small deep cerebral infarcts can be caused by a variety of etiologic factors including cardioembolism and large vessel occlusion. This has led some authors to conclude that the "lacune hypothesis," which suggests that lacunes are caused by lesions involving small perforating brain arteries, is a "fallacy"1 and that the term lacunar "should be evicted from the bedside."2In their recent article,4 Waterston and colleagues provide further evidence that the cause of small deep cerebral infarcts is diverse. In reviewing their study, as well as other reports of patients with lacunes of "atypical etiology,"5 it appears that a high percentage of these patients have unusually large lacunes.Most lacunes are only 2 to 3 mm in maximal diameter,6,7 and Fisher7 believed that lacunes greater than 10 mm in diameter should be designated as giant

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