An infarct is an area which has lost its blood supply due to obstruction, thrombosis or embolism. It is the third leading cause of death in the Western world, following non-cerebral cardiovascular disease and cancer. This research study focused on determining the infarct prevalence according to age, sex and brain areas most affected by infarcts. The prevalence of different infarct types was also determined. Brain MRI statistics were obtained from a Private Radiology practice in Pretoria for a 13-month period. A total of 1844 brain MRI examinations were evaluated, of which 299 patients presented with infarcts. Their age and sex were noted and their individual reports were obtained to note the anatomical structures and brain lobes affected by infarcts. The infarcts types were also noted. Diffusion-weighted images were used to measure new infarcts and FLAIR images to measure old infarcts. Results showed an infarct prevalence of 16.10%, with vascular structures (26.63%) most affected by infarcts. Most infarcts were new (56.80%) and mainly affected patient’s aged 70 – 79 yrs (31.36%). Normal cerebral infarcts (72.49%) and embolic infarcts (14.50%) were the most common infarcts noted. The parietal lobe (34.91%) and right middle cerebral artery (11.54%) presented with the most infarcts. The right hemisphere (34.91%) presented with slight infarct predominance, but it was not significant when compared to the left (31.95%) hemisphere (Chi square p>0.05). No significant difference was found concerning the overall male to female ratio affected (Chi square p>0.05). Females aged 18 – 39 yrs of age presented with three times more infarcts when compared to their male counterparts. This may possibly be due to their use of oral contraceptives and pregnancy, which increases the risk of thrombosis and embolism. Females over 80 yrs also presented with higher infarct prevalence, which is expected, since men die at earlier ages due to other co-morbidities such as cancer.
Poster presented at the University of Pretoria Health Sciences Faculty Day, August 2008, Pretoria, South Africa.