Stroke prevention and treatment

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The decline in stroke incidence and mortality in the U.S. over the past 20 years is reaching a plateau, and the number of strokes may actually start to increase as the population ages. However, recent clinical trials have demonstrated that there are numerous opportunities to improve stroke prevention strategies and also opportunities to effectively intervene in and treat acute strokes. For patients with diabetes and for those with prior strokes or transient ischemic attacks, it has become evident that aggressive low-density lipoprotein lowering with statin medications will decrease the risk for total and fatal strokes. Optimal anticoagulation and antiplatelet therapy for primary and secondary stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation is being carefully defined. With numerous novel factor Xa and direct thrombin inhibitor drugs completing phase III clinical trials, it is likely that additional oral anticoagulant drugs will be clinically available for stroke prevention soon. Additionally, a major clinical trial is nearing completion that may resolve the role of carotid stenting and carotid endarterectomy in primary and secondary stroke prevention. There are recent notable advances in the acute treatment of stroke. It is likely that the time window for thrombolysis for appropriate patients with strokes will be increased from 3 to 4.5 h, permitting the inclusion of more patients in this treatment approach. There is ongoing investigation of intra-arterial thrombolysis and of acute intra-arterial thrombus extraction for treatment of selected patients with strokes. Unlike the progress in treatment of ischemic strokes, treatment of hemorrhagic stroke is progressing more slowly. © 2010 American College of Cardiology Foundation.




Marsh, J. D., & Keyrouz, S. G. (2010, August 24). Stroke prevention and treatment. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Elsevier USA.

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