Brain Impairment


Thalamic Stroke: Precursors and Outcomes for Ten Patients

Johanna Freelanda1, Christopher Levia2a3 and Mick Huntera1a3 c1

a1 School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

a2 Department of Neurology, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

a3 Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health, Hunter Medical Research Institute, NSW, Australia


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine susceptibility factors in thalamic stroke, as well as outcomes in order to identify rehabilitation needs.

Methods: Ten patients with thalamic stroke were interviewed and administered the Audio Recorded Cognitive Screen. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were examined to determine location and size of the lesion, as well as basilar artery size and anatomical variances in the circle of Willis.

Results: Risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and pre-existing heart conditions were identified. Circle of Willis variations were found in 6 of the 10 participants, with MR angiography indicating that the posterior communication artery was absent or failed to join the posterior cerebral artery. Basilar artery diameter measurements were no larger than normal. All participants reported post-stroke changes, including decreased coordination and mobility, poor balance, reduced energy, memory deficits and mood changes. Participants’ overall scores on cognitive tests were significantly lower than age-matched norms. Performance on the test domains of memory, fluency, language and attention were all significantly below age norms.

Conclusions: The variability of outcome measures demonstrates the difficulty of defining patterns of relationship between risk factors and severity of functional sequelae in thalamic stroke.


  • thalamus;
  • stroke;
  • cognitive change;
  • risk factors


c1 Address for correspondence: Conjoint Associate Professor Mick Hunter, School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia. E-mail: