, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 307-313

Implications of silent strokes

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“Silent strokes” or “subclinical strokes” refer to incidental findings of strokes on neuroimaging studies, such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging/diffusion-weighted imaging, that are asymptomatic. These include lacunar and other ischemic strokes and minor hemorrhages, particularly in “silent areas” of the brain, but also include leukoaraiosis due to small vessel pathology of a variety of origins. Clinicians need to appreciate their significance because with certain conditions, such as atrial fibrillation and significant carotid stenosis, follow-up of these patients shows an increased incidence of strokes, impaired cognitive function, and dementia. These serious consequences of subclinical strokes require the clinician to be vigilant and institute preventive strategies to avert these untoward outcomes.