Lacunar stroke: mechanisms and therapeutic implications

Lacunar stroke is a marker of cerebral small vessel disease and accounts for up to 25% of ischaemic stroke. In this narrative review, we provide an overview of potential lacunar stroke mechanisms and discuss therapeutic implications based on the underlying mechanism. For this paper, we reviewed the literature from important studies (randomised trials, exploratory comparative studies and case series) on lacunar stroke patients with a focus on more recent studies highlighting mechanisms and stroke prevention strategies in patients with lacunar stroke. These studies suggest that lacunar stroke is a heterogeneous disease with various mechanisms, including most commonly lipohyalinosis and less commonly atheromatous disease and cardioembolism, highlighting the importance of a careful review of brain and neurovascular imaging, a cardiac and systemic evaluation. A better understanding of pathomechanisms of neurological deterioration may lead to investigating the utility of novel treatment strategies and optimisation of short-term antithrombotic treatment strategies to reduce the risk of neurological deterioration and prevent long-term disability in patients with lacunar stroke.

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