Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 April 2014
Lacunar stroke is a small (<2 cm) infarction that accounts for approximately 20% of all strokes. While a third of all stroke patients experience depressive symptoms, the prevalence of depression in the lacunar stroke patient population is unclear. This meta-analysis aimed to synthesize the evidence on the effect of lacunar stroke and deep white matter disease on depressive symptoms.
A systematic search of electronic databases was conducted, resulting in the inclusion of 12 studies. Analyses were performed on the effects of lacunar stroke, volume and location of lacunes on depression prevalence, and the effect on depression severity. The effects estimates were calculated in random-effects models.
None of the analyses produced statistically significant results. Lacunar stroke patients had a non-significantly higher prevalence of depression compared to patients with non-lacunar cerebrovascular diseases (OR = 1.46, 95% CI: 0.88–2.43, p = 0.15). Neither thalamic (OR = 1.37 (0.85–2.20), p = 0.19), deep white matter (RR = 1.16 (0.85–1.57), p = 0.35), multiple lacunes (OR = 1.34 (0.81–2.22), p = 0.25), or the volume of lacunes (MD = −4.71 (−351.59–342.18), p = 0.98) had an effect on depression prevalence. Lastly, lacunar stroke did not influence depressive symptom severity (MD = 0.96 (−1.57–3.48), p = 0.46).
The pooled group of patients with lacunar stroke and deep white matter disease appear to have a similar prevalence of depression compared to those with other types of cerebrovascular diseases. However, the small number of studies, heterogeneous comparison groups, and high statistical heterogeneity between studies posed an obstacle to the meta-analysis. To determine appropriate screening and treatment approaches, future research will need to separate lacunar stroke and deep white matter disease patients, and include larger sample sizes and healthy control groups to determine their distinct contributions to depression.
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