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Prevention of Recurrent Ischemic Stroke - Article
ABSTRACT: Recurrent ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack are common problems in primary care, with stroke survivors averaging 10 outpatient visits per year. Risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia should be evaluated during each office visit. Attention should be given to lifestyle modification including management of obesity, smoking cessation, reduction in alcohol consumption, and promotion of physical activity. The choice of an antiplatelet agent (e.g., aspirin, ticlopidine, clopidogrel, dipyridamole) or the anticoagulant warfarin is based on the safety, tolerability, effectiveness, and price of each agent. Aspirin is a common first choice for prevention of recurrent stroke, but the combination of dipyridamole and aspirin should be considered for many patients because of its superior effectiveness in two clinical trials. Clopidogrel is recommended for patients with aspirin intolerance or allergy, or for those who cannot tolerate dipyridamole. Warfarin and the combination of aspirin and clopidogrel should not be used in the prevention of ischemic stroke. Carotid endarterectomy is appropriate for select patients; carotid stenting was recently shown to be less effective and less safe than endarterectomy.
AHA Updates Guidelines for Carotid Endarterectomy - Special Medical Reports
ABSTRACT: Clinical trials conducted during the past five years have yielded important results that have allowed us to refine our approach to stroke prevention. Treatment of isolated systolic hypertension prevents stroke and is generally well tolerated. New antiplatelet agents (clopidogrel and the combination of aspirin plus high-dose dipyridamole) have been shown to be effective in reducing vascular events in survivors of ischemic stroke, although aspirin remains the mainstay of antiplatelet therapy for stroke prevention. Several clinical trials support the benefit of lipid-lowering agents ("statins") in reducing stroke. Warfarin reduces stroke for high-risk patients with atrial fibrillation. Carotid endarterectomy is highly beneficial in reducing stroke for symptomatic patients with severe carotid stenosis (greater than 70 percent), but the benefit is less for symptomatic patients with a moderate degree of stenosis (50 to 69 percent) and for patients with asymptomatic carotid disease of any severity.
ABSTRACT: Carotid endarterectomy has proved to be beneficial in the prevention of stroke in selected patients. The procedure is indicated in symptomatic patients with carotid-territory transient ischemic attacks or minor strokes who have carotid artery stenosis of 70 to 99 percent. With a low surgical risk, carotid endarterectomy provides modest benefit in symptomatic patients with carotid artery stenosis of 50 to 69 percent. Platelet antiaggregants and risk factor modification are recommended in symptomatic patients with less than 50 percent stenosis. In the Asymptomatic Carotid Atherosclerosis Study, carotid endarterectomy was beneficial in patients who had asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis of 60 percent or greater and whose general health made them good candidates for elective surgery, provided that the arteriographic and surgical complication rates were low. However, in asymptomatic patients, surgery reduced the absolute risk of stroke by only 1 percent per year.
Who Should Operate in Carotid Disease? - Editorials
ABSTRACT: Interventions following a transient ischemic attack are aimed at preventing a future episode or stroke. Hypertension, current smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia are all well-known risk factors, and controlling these factors can have dramatic effects on transient ischemic attack and stroke risk. For patients presenting within 48 hours of resolution of transient ischemic attack symptoms, advantages of hospital admission include rapid diagnostic evaluation and early intervention to reduce the risk of stroke. For long-term prevention of future stroke, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recommends antiplatelet agents, statins, and carotid artery intervention for advanced stenosis. Aspirin, extended-release dipyridamole/aspirin, and clopidogrel are acceptable first-line antiplatelet agents. Statins have also been shown to reduce the risk of stroke following transient ischemic attack, with maximal benefit occurring with at least a 50 percent reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level or a target of less than 70 mg per dL (1.81 mmol per L). For those with transient ischemic attack and carotid artery stenosis, carotid endarterectomy is recommended if stenosis is 70 to 99 percent, and perioperative morbidity and mortality are estimated to be less than 6 percent.