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Open Access Data Note

Infarctions in the vascular territory of the posterior cerebral artery: clinical features in 232 patients

Adrià Arboix12*, Guillermo Arbe1, Luis García-Eroles3, Montserrat Oliveres1, Olga Parra24 and Joan Massons1

Author Affiliations

1 Unit of Cerebrovascular Diseases, Service of Neurology, Hospital Universitari del Sagrat Cor, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

2 CIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CB06/06), Instituto Carlos III, Madrid, Spain

3 Unit of Organization, Planning and Information Systems, Consorci Sanitari del Maresme, Barcelona, Spain

4 Service of Pneumology, Hospital Universitari del Sagrat Cor, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:329  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-329

Published: 7 September 2011

Abstract

Background

Ischemic stroke caused by infarction in the territory of the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) has not been studied as extensively as infarctions in other vascular territories. This single centre, retrospective clinical study was conducted a) to describe salient characteristics of stroke patients with PCA infarction, b) to compare data of these patients with those with ischaemic stroke due to middle cerebral artery (MCA) and anterior cerebral artery (ACA) infarctions, and c) to identify predictors of PCA stroke.

Findings

A total of 232 patients with PCA stroke were included in the "Sagrat Cor Hospital of Barcelona Stroke Registry" during a period of 19 years (1986-2004). Data from stroke patients are entered in the stroke registry following a standardized protocol with 161 items regarding demographics, risk factors, clinical features, laboratory and neuroimaging data, complications and outcome. The characteristics of these 232 patients with PCA stroke were compared with those of the 1355 patients with MCA infarctions and 51 patients with ACA infarctions included in the registry.

Infarctions of the PCA accounted for 6.8% of all cases of stroke (n = 3808) and 9.6% of cerebral infarctions (n = 2704). Lacunar infarction was the most frequent stroke subtype (34.5%) followed by atherothrombotic infarction (29.3%) and cardioembolic infarction (21.6%). In-hospital mortality was 3.9% (n = 9). Forty-five patients (19.4%) were symptom-free at hospital discharge. Hemianopia (odds ratio [OR] = 6.43), lacunar stroke subtype (OR = 2.18), symptom-free at discharge (OR = 1.92), limb weakness (OR = 0.10), speech disorders (OR = 0.33) and cardioembolism (OR = 0.65) were independent variables of PCA stroke in comparison with MCA infarction, whereas sensory deficit (OR = 2.36), limb weakness (OR = 0.11) and cardioembolism as stroke mechanism (OR = 0.43) were independent variables associated with PCA stroke in comparison with ACA infarction.

Conclusions

Lacunar stroke is the main subtype of infarction occurring in the PCA territory. Several clinical features are more frequent in stroke patients with PCA infarction than in patients with ischaemic stroke due to infarction in the MCA and ACA territories. In-hospital mortality in patients with PCA territory is low.