Risk Reduction Strategies in Ischaemic Stroke
Stroke is a common and serious disorder, and is a leading cause of disability and death in adults. Transient ischaemic attacks are now recognised as being common precursors of stroke, with a high risk of subsequent vascular events. The majority of strokes are ischaemic in origin, and are typically due to atherothrombosis/microatheromatosis involving a large or small cerebral blood vessel or to an embolic event. Owing to the diffuse nature of atherothrombosis, these patients are at risk of ischaemic events in other vascular beds. Options for treating patients with acute ischaemic stroke are very limited; therefore prevention is a key strategy for reducing the risk of recurrent stroke and other vascular events. Treatment of risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking and obesity is an important approach for stroke prevention. Platelets are involved in the development of thrombi and emboli, making antiplatelet therapy an important preventive strategy. Antiplatelet agents are effective in preventing recurrent ischaemic stroke and other vascular ischaemic events, such as myocardial infarction and vascular death. In some cases, anticoagulants may be effective in preventing ischaemic stroke recurrence. Carotid endarterectomy can reduce stroke risk in patients with moderate- or high-grade carotid artery stenosis. Choosing the most appropriate therapy for the individual patient is key to optimising stroke prevention.
KeywordsAspirin Ischaemic Stroke Clopidogrel Antiplatelet Therapy Ticlopidine
Dr Alberts is a consultant and has received honoraria and research funding from Sanofi, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Boehringer-Ingelheim.
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