A lacunar cerebral infarction is a small stroke in the deeper part of the brains, the central parts of the brains. It is not larger than 2 cm and it occurs as a result of a closure of very small blood vessels. This is due to local defects of these vessels, such as atherosclerosis.
There is a blockage in the smaller, deeper blood vessels in the brains. The area behind the blood vessel dies, as a result of which a small hole, a gap develops. For one quarter of the cases of an infarct, there is a lacunar infarct.
In all cases there are disturbances in the deep center of the large brains, the "basal ganglia".
The basal ganglia take care of the processing of various impulses from the brains which are important for the control of movements, such as walking. Also non-conscious actions are controlled by the basal ganglia.
Years ago, these patients were often considered as lucky people. They were sent home after being diagnosed with the reassurance that they would be able to function as before within weeks to months. The Dutch neuropsychologist Martine Zandvoort found that people with a minor stroke often have difficulty performing complex tasks. She obtained her doctorate on this in 2001.
These patients usually recover physically well, but they often fail to function at their old level. They tire easily, are quickly overwhelmed by emotions and every task is more difficult for them than it was before.
These patients have difficulty performing complex tasks, such as alternately adding and subtracting and dividing their attention on these tasks.
- Easily overwhelmed by emotions
- Difficulty performing complex tasks