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1.  Clinical Evaluation of Patients with Spinal Cord Infarction in Mashhad, Iran 
Stroke Research and Treatment  2010;2010:942417.
Background. Spinal Cord Infarction (SCI) is a rare and disabling disease. This hospital-based study was conducted for clinical evaluation of SCI patients in east of Iran. Methods. Consecutive SCI patients admitted in Ghaem hospital,Mashhad during 2006–2010 were enrolled in a prospective clinical study. Diagnosis of SCI was made by neurologists and radiologists. Demographic features, clinical syndrome, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) findings were recorded. All of the patients underwent a standard battery of diagnostic investigations. All of the patients suspected to SCI had MRI of spinal cord at the symptomatic level of cord with a 0.5 Tesla generation, Philips NT Intra, Netherland equipment. An equal number of patients with Brain Infarction (BI) were randomly selected from our stroke registry data bank. Etiology and degree of disability were compared between these groups of patients. Results. Fourteen SCI patients (9 females, 5 males) with mean age 38.8 ± SD: 19.9 years were evaluated. Miscellaneous causes consisted 50% of etiologies in patients with SCI. Uncertain etiology, atherosclerosis, and cardioembolisms consisted 35.7%, 7.1%, and 7.1% of SCI causes, respectively. Distribution of etiologies was significantly different between SCI and BI patients, X2 = 12.94, df = 3, P = .003. Difference in mean disability score at acute phase of stroke was not significant between two studied groups, z = 1.54, P = .057. Difference in mean changes of disability score at 90 days postevent was significant in two groups of patients, z = 2.65, P = .019. Conclusion. SCI is a rare disease with poor recovery. Distribution of etiologies of SCI patients is quite different than of BI patients.
doi:10.4061/2010/942417
PMCID: PMC2964906  PMID: 21048996
2.  Inflammatory Markers and Poor Outcome after Stroke: A Prospective Cohort Study and Systematic Review of Interleukin-6 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(9):e1000145.
In a prospective cohort study of patient outcomes following stroke, William Whiteley and colleagues find that markers of inflammatory response are associated with poor outcomes. However, addition of these markers to existing prognostic models does not improve outcome prediction.
Background
The objective of this study was to determine whether: (a) markers of acute inflammation (white cell count, glucose, interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and fibrinogen) are associated with poor outcome after stroke and (b) the addition of markers to previously validated prognostic models improves prediction of poor outcome.
Methods and Findings
We prospectively recruited patients between 2002 and 2005. Clinicians assessed patients and drew blood for inflammatory markers. Patients were followed up by postal questionnaire for poor outcome (a score of>2 on the modified Rankin Scale) and death through the General Register Office (Scotland) at 6 mo. We performed a systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis of the association between interleukin-6 and poor outcome after stroke to place our study in the context of previous research. We recruited 844 patients; mortality data were available in 844 (100%) and functional outcome in 750 (89%). After appropriate adjustment, the odds ratios for the association of markers and poor outcome (comparing the upper and the lower third) were interleukin-6, 3.1 (95% CI: 1.9–5.0); C-reactive protein, 1.9 (95% CI: 1.2–3.1); fibrinogen, 1.5 (95% CI: 1.0–2.36); white cell count, 2.1 (95% CI: 1.3–3.4); and glucose 1.3 (95% CI: 0.8–2.1). The results for interleukin-6 were similar to other studies. However, the addition of inflammatory marker levels to validated prognostic models did not materially improve model discrimination, calibration, or reclassification for prediction of poor outcome after stroke.
Conclusions
Raised levels of markers of the acute inflammatory response after stroke are associated with poor outcomes. However, the addition of these markers to a previously validated stroke prognostic model did not improve the prediction of poor outcome. Whether inflammatory markers are useful in prediction of recurrent stroke or other vascular events is a separate question, which requires further study.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, 15 million people have a stroke. In the US alone, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies from a stroke every 3–4 minutes. Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is suddenly interrupted by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain (ischemic stroke, the commonest type of stroke) or by a blood vessel in the brain bursting (hemorrhagic stroke). Deprived of the oxygen normally carried to them by the blood, the brain cells near the blockage die. The symptoms of stroke depend on which part of the brain is damaged but include sudden weakness or paralysis along one side of the body, vision loss in one or both eyes, and confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical assistance immediately because prompt treatment can limit the damage to the brain. Risk factors for stroke include age (three-quarters of strokes occur in people over 65 years old), high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Why Was This Study Done?
Many people are left with permanent disabilities after a stroke. An accurate way to predict the likely long-term outcome (prognosis) for individual patients would help clinicians manage their patients and help relatives and patients come to terms with their changed circumstances. Clinicians can get some idea of their patients' likely outcomes by assessing six simple clinical variables. These include the ability to lift both arms and awareness of the present situation. But could the inclusion of additional variables improve the predictive power of this simple prognostic model? There is some evidence that high levels in the blood of inflammatory markers (for example, interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein) are associated with poor outcomes after stroke—inflammation is the body's response to infection and to damage. In this prospective cohort study, the researchers investigate whether inflammatory markers are associated with poor outcome after stroke and whether the addition of these markers to the six-variable prognostic model improves its predictive power. Prospective cohort studies enroll a group of participants and follow their subsequent progress.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited 844 patients who had had a stroke (mainly mild ischemic strokes) in Edinburgh. Each patient was assessed soon after the stroke by a clinician and blood was taken for the measurement of inflammatory markers. Six months after the stroke, the patient or their relatives completed a postal questionnaire that assessed their progress. Information about patient deaths was obtained from the General Register Office for Scotland. Dependency on others for the activities of daily life or dying was recorded as a poor outcome. In their statistical analysis of these data, the researchers found that raised levels of several inflammatory markers increased the likelihood of a poor outcome. For example, after allowing for age and other factors, individuals with interleukin-6 levels in the upper third of the measured range were three times as likely to have a poor outcome as patients with interleukin-6 levels in the bottom third of the range. A systematic search of the literature revealed that previous studies that had looked at the potential association between interleukin-6 levels and outcome after stroke had found similar results. Finally, the researchers found that the addition of inflammatory marker levels to the six-variable prognostic model did not substantially improve its ability to predict outcome after stroke for this cohort of patients.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide additional support for the idea that increased levels of inflammatory markers are associated with a poor outcome after stroke. However, because patients with infections were not excluded from the study, infection may be responsible for part of the observed association. Importantly, these findings also show that although the inclusion of inflammatory markers in the six variable prognostic model slightly improves its ability to predict outcome, the magnitude of this improvement is too small to warrant the use of these markers in routine practice. Whether the measurement of inflammatory markers might be useful in the prediction of recurrent stroke—at least a quarter of people who survive a stroke will have another one within 5 years—requires further study.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000145.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Len Kritharides
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about all aspects of stroke (in English and Spanish); the Know Stroke site provides educational materials about stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation (in English and Spanish)
The Internet Stroke Center provides detailed information about stroke for patients, families and health professionals (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service also provides information for patients and their families about stroke (in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about stroke (in English and Spanish)
The six simple variable model for prediction of death or disability after stroke is available here: http://dcnapp1.dcn.ed.ac.uk/scope/
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000145
PMCID: PMC2730573  PMID: 19901973
3.  Stroke risk factors, subtypes, and 30-day case fatality in Abuja, Nigeria 
Background:
Stroke is the second leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability worldwide. A better understanding of stroke risk factors and outcome may help guide efforts at reducing the community burden of stroke. This study aimed to understand stroke risk factors, imaging subtypes, and 30-day outcomes among adult Nigerians.
Materials and Methods:
We prospectively recruited all patients presenting with acute stroke at the National Hospital Abuja between January 2010 and June 2012. We assessed clinical and laboratory variables, as well as brain computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and carotid Doppler ultrasound scans. We also assessed case fatality and functional outcome at 30 days after stroke.
Results:
Of 272 patients studied, 168 (61.8%) were males. Age at presentation (mean ± standard deviation) was 56.4 ± 12.7 years in males and 52.9 ± 14.8 years in females (P = 0.039). Neuroimaging was obtained in 96.7% patients, revealing cerebral infarction (61.8%), intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) (34.8%), and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) (3.4%). Carotid plaques or stenosis ≥50% were detected in 53.2% patients with cerebral infarction. Stroke risk factors included hypertension (82.7%), obesity (32.6%), diabetes (23.5%), hyperlipidemia (18.4%), atrial fibrillation (9.2%), and cigarette smoking (7.7%). At 30 days after stroke, case-fatality rate was 18.8%, whereas modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores for cerebral infarction, ICH, and SAH were 3.71, 4.21, and 4.56, respectively. Atrial fibrillation, a previous stroke, and age older than 50 years were all associated with worse mRS scores at 30 days.
Conclusion:
Although hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, and atrial fibrillation were important stroke risk factors, in many patients, these were detected only after a stroke. While the commonest stroke subtype was cerebral infarction, observed in almost two-third of patients, SAH was associated with the highest case-fatality rate at 30 days of 44.4%. Larger population-based studies may provide additional data on stroke incidence and outcome among Nigerians.
doi:10.4103/0300-1652.110051
PMCID: PMC3687865  PMID: 23798800
Case fatality; cerebral infarction; hypertension; Nigeria; stroke
4.  Safety assessment of anticoagulation therapy in patients with hemorrhagic cerebral venous thrombosis 
Iranian Journal of Neurology  2013;12(3):87-91.
Background
Anticoagulation therapy is a routine treatment in patients with hemorrhagic cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT). However, fear of hemorrhagic complications and deterioration course following anticoagulation often disturbs the responsible physician.
Methods
This was a Prospective observational study on consecutive CVT patients with hemorrhagic venous infarction or subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) admitted in Ghaem Hospital, Mashhad, Iran, during 2006-2012. The diagnosis of CVT in suspected cases was confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging/magnetic resonance venography (MRI/MRV), and computerized tomography (CT) angiography following established diagnostic criteria. Demographic data, clinical manifestations from onset to end of the observation period, location of thrombus, location and size of infarction and hemorrhage, and clinical course during treatment were recorded. Choice of the treatment was left to the opinion of the treating physician. Clinical course during 1 week of treatment was assessed based on the baseline modified National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score. Three or more points decrease or increase of modified NIHSS after 1 week of treatment was considered as improvement or deterioration courses, respectively. Other clinical courses were categorized as stabilization course.
Results
102 hemorrhagic CVT patients (80 females, 22 males) with mean age of 38.6 ± 8 years were prospectively investigated. Of the 102 hemorrhagic CVT patients in the acute phase, 52 patients (50.9%) were anticoagulated with adjusted dose intravenous heparin infusion and 50 cases (49.1%) received subcutaneous enoxaparin 1mg/Kg twice daily. Decreased consciousness had a significant effect on the clinical course of the patients (X2 = 9.493, df = 2, P = 0.009). Presence of SAH had no significant effect on the clinical course of our anticoagulated hemorrhagic CVT cases (X2 = 0.304, df = 2, P = 0.914). Extension of Infarction in more than two thirds of a hemisphere had a significant influence on the distribution of clinical courses (X2 = 5.867, df = 2, P = 0.044). Difference in distribution of clinical course among the two groups of our hemorrhagic CVT patients was not significant (X2 = 8.14, df = 1, P = 0.87).
Conclusion
Patients with hemorrhagic CVT without other contraindication for anticoagulation should be treated either with dose-adjusted intravenous heparin or body-weight-adjusted subcutaneous low molecular-weight heparin.
PMCID: PMC3829295  PMID: 24250911
Cerebral Vein; Thrombus; Hemorrhagic
5.  Associations between Stroke Mortality and Weekend Working by Stroke Specialist Physicians and Registered Nurses: Prospective Multicentre Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(8):e1001705.
In a multicenter observational study, Benjamin Bray and colleagues evaluate whether weekend rounds by stroke specialist physicians, or the ratio of registered nurses to beds on weekends, is associated with patient mortality after stroke.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Observational studies have reported higher mortality for patients admitted on weekends. It is not known whether this “weekend effect” is modified by clinical staffing levels on weekends. We aimed to test the hypotheses that rounds by stroke specialist physicians 7 d per week and the ratio of registered nurses to beds on weekends are associated with mortality after stroke.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a prospective cohort study of 103 stroke units (SUs) in England. Data of 56,666 patients with stroke admitted between 1 June 2011 and 1 December 2012 were extracted from a national register of stroke care in England. SU characteristics and staffing levels were derived from cross-sectional survey. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of 30-d post-admission mortality, adjusting for case mix, organisational, staffing, and care quality variables. After adjusting for confounders, there was no significant difference in mortality risk for patients admitted to a stroke service with stroke specialist physician rounds fewer than 7 d per week (adjusted HR [aHR] 1.04, 95% CI 0.91–1.18) compared to patients admitted to a service with rounds 7 d per week. There was a dose–response relationship between weekend nurse/bed ratios and mortality risk, with the highest risk of death observed in stroke services with the lowest nurse/bed ratios. In multivariable analysis, patients admitted on a weekend to a SU with 1.5 nurses/ten beds had an estimated adjusted 30-d mortality risk of 15.2% (aHR 1.18, 95% CI 1.07–1.29) compared to 11.2% for patients admitted to a unit with 3.0 nurses/ten beds (aHR 0.85, 95% CI 0.77–0.93), equivalent to one excess death per 25 admissions. The main limitation is the risk of confounding from unmeasured characteristics of stroke services.
Conclusions
Mortality outcomes after stroke are associated with the intensity of weekend staffing by registered nurses but not 7-d/wk ward rounds by stroke specialist physicians. The findings have implications for quality improvement and resource allocation in stroke care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In a perfect world, a patient admitted to hospital on a weekend or during the night should have as good an outcome as a patient admitted during regular working hours. But several observational studies (investigations that record patient outcomes without intervening in any way; clinical trials, by contrast, test potential healthcare interventions by comparing the outcomes of patients who are deliberately given different treatments) have reported that admission on weekends is associated with a higher mortality (death) rate than admission on weekdays. This “weekend effect” has led to calls for increased medical and nursing staff to be available in hospitals during the weekend and overnight to ensure that the healthcare provided at these times is of equal quality to that provided during regular working hours. In the UK, for example, “seven-day working” has been identified as a policy and service improvement priority for the National Health Service.
Why Was This Study Done?
Few studies have actually tested the relationship between patient outcomes and weekend physician or nurse staffing levels. It could be that patients who are admitted to hospital on the weekend have poor outcomes because they are generally more ill than those admitted on weekdays. Before any health system introduces potentially expensive increases in weekend staffing levels, better evidence that this intervention will improve patient outcomes is needed. In this prospective cohort study (a study that compares the outcomes of groups of people with different baseline characteristics), the researchers ask whether mortality after stroke is associated with weekend working by stroke specialist physicians and registered nurses. Stroke occurs when the brain's blood supply is interrupted by a blood vessel in the brain bursting (hemorrhagic stroke) or being blocked by a blood clot (ischemic stroke). Swift treatment can limit the damage to the brain caused by stroke, but of the 15 million people who have a stroke every year, about 6 million die within a few hours and another 5 million are left disabled.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted clinical data on 56,666 patients who were admitted to stroke units in England over an 18-month period from a national stroke register. They obtained information on the characteristics and staffing levels of the stroke units from a biennial survey of hospitals admitting patients with stroke, and information on deaths among patients with stroke from the national register of deaths. A quarter of the patients were admitted on a weekend, almost half the stroke units provided stroke specialist physician rounds seven days per week, and the remainder provided rounds five days per week. After adjustment for factors that might have affected outcomes (“confounders”) such as stroke severity and the level of acute stroke care available in each stroke unit, there was no significant difference in mortality risk between patients admitted to a stroke unit with rounds seven days/week and patients admitted to a unit with rounds fewer than seven days/week. However, patients admitted on a weekend to a stroke unit with 1.5 nurses/ten beds had a 30-day mortality risk of 15.2%, whereas patients admitted to a unit with 3.0 nurses/ten beds had a mortality risk of 11.2%, a mortality risk difference equivalent to one excess death per 25 admissions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the provision of stroke specialist physician rounds seven days/week in stroke units in England did not influence the (weak) association between weekend admission for stroke and death recorded in this study, but mortality outcomes after stroke were associated with the intensity of weekend staffing by registered nurses. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by the measure used to judge the level of acute care available in each stroke unit and by residual confounding. For example, patients admitted to units with lower nursing levels may have shared other unknown characteristics that increased their risk of dying after stroke. Moreover, this study considered the impact of staffing levels on mortality only and did not consider other relevant outcomes such as long-term disability. Despite these limitations, these findings support the provision of higher weekend ratios of registered nurses to beds in stroke units, but given the high costs of increasing weekend staffing levels, it is important that controlled trials of different models of physician and nursing staffing are undertaken as soon as possible.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001705.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Meeta Kerlin
Information about plans to introduce seven-day working into the National Health Service in England is available; the 2013 publication “NHS Services—Open Seven Days a Week: Every Day Counts” provides examples of how hospitals across England are working together to provide routine healthcare services seven days a week; a “Behind the Headlines” article on the UK National Health Service Choices website describes a recent observational study that investigated the association between admission to hospital on the weekend and death, and newspaper coverage of the study's results; the Choices website also provides information about stroke for patients and their families, including personal stories
A US nurses' site includes information on the association of nurse staffing with patient safety
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about all aspects of stroke (in English and Spanish); its Know Stroke site provides educational materials about stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, including personal stories (in English and Spanish); the US National Institute of Health SeniorHealth website has additional information about stroke
The Internet Stroke Center provides detailed information about stroke for patients, families, and health professionals (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001705
PMCID: PMC4138029  PMID: 25137386
6.  Inter-rater reliability of modified Alberta Stroke program early computerized tomography score in patients with brain infarction 
BACKGROUND:
The Alberta Stroke Program Early Computerized Tomography Score (ASPECTS) was used to detect significant early ischemic changes on brain CT of acute stroke patients. We designed the modified ASPECTS and compared it to the above system based on the inter-rater reliability.
METHODS:
A cross-sectional validation study was conducted based on the inter-rater reliability. The CT images were chosen from the stroke data bank of Ghaem hospital, Mashhad in 2010. The inclusion criteria were the presence of middle cerebral artery territory infarction and performance of CT within 6 hours after stroke onset. Axial CT scans were performed on a third-generation CT scanner (Siemens, ARTX, Germany). Section thickness above posterior fossa was 10 mm (130 kV, 150 mAs). Films were made at window level of 35 HU. The brain CTs were scored by four independent radiologists based on the ASPECTS and modified ASPECTS. The readers were blind to clinical information except symptom side. Cochrane Q and Kappa tests served for statistical analysis.
RESULTS:
24 CT scans were available and of sufficient quality. Difference in distribution of dichotomized ≤7 and >7 ASPECT scores between four raters was significant (Q=13.071, df=3, p=0.04). Distribution of dichotomized <6 and ≥6 scores based on modified ASPECT system between 4 raters was not significantly different (Q=6.349, df=3, p=0.096).
CONCLUSIONS:
Modified ASPECT method is more reliable than ASPECTS in detecting major early ischemic changes in stroke patients candidated to tPA thrombolysis.
PMCID: PMC3430023  PMID: 22973327
Computed Tomography; Cerebral Infarction; Thrombolysis; Inter-Rater Reliability
7.  Uncovering Treatment Burden as a Key Concept for Stroke Care: A Systematic Review of Qualitative Research 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(6):e1001473.
In a systematic review of qualitative research, Katie Gallacher and colleagues examine the evidence related to treatment burden after stroke from the patient perspective.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Patients with chronic disease may experience complicated management plans requiring significant personal investment. This has been termed ‘treatment burden’ and has been associated with unfavourable outcomes. The aim of this systematic review is to examine the qualitative literature on treatment burden in stroke from the patient perspective.
Methods and Findings
The search strategy centred on: stroke, treatment burden, patient experience, and qualitative methods. We searched: Scopus, CINAHL, Embase, Medline, and PsycINFO. We tracked references, footnotes, and citations. Restrictions included: English language, date of publication January 2000 until February 2013. Two reviewers independently carried out the following: paper screening, data extraction, and data analysis. Data were analysed using framework synthesis, as informed by Normalization Process Theory. Sixty-nine papers were included. Treatment burden includes: (1) making sense of stroke management and planning care, (2) interacting with others, (3) enacting management strategies, and (4) reflecting on management. Health care is fragmented, with poor communication between patient and health care providers. Patients report inadequate information provision. Inpatient care is unsatisfactory, with a perceived lack of empathy from professionals and a shortage of stimulating activities on the ward. Discharge services are poorly coordinated, and accessing health and social care in the community is difficult. The study has potential limitations because it was restricted to studies published in English only and data from low-income countries were scarce.
Conclusions
Stroke management is extremely demanding for patients, and treatment burden is influenced by micro and macro organisation of health services. Knowledge deficits mean patients are ill equipped to organise their care and develop coping strategies, making adherence less likely. There is a need to transform the approach to care provision so that services are configured to prioritise patient needs rather than those of health care systems.
Systematic Review Registration
International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews CRD42011001123
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, 15 million people have a stroke. About 5 million of these people die within a few days, and another 5 million are left disabled. Stroke occurs when the blood supply of the brain is suddenly interrupted by a blood vessel in the brain being blocked by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or bursting (hemorrhagic stroke). Deprived of the oxygen normally carried to them by the blood, the brain cells near the blockage die. The symptoms of stroke depend on which part of the brain is damaged but include sudden weakness or paralysis along one side of the body, vision loss in one or both eyes, and confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention because prompt treatment can limit the damage to the brain. In the longer term, post-stroke rehabilitation can help individuals overcome the physical disabilities caused by stroke, and drugs that thin the blood, reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol (major risk factors for stroke) alongside behavioral counseling can reduce the risk of a second stroke.
Why Was This Study Done?
Treatment for, and rehabilitation from, stroke is a lengthy process that requires considerable personal investment from the patient. The term “treatment burden” describes the self-care practices that patients with stroke and other chronic diseases must perform to follow the complicated management strategies that have been developed for these conditions. Unfortunately, treatment burden can overwhelm patients. They may be unable to cope with the multiple demands placed on them by health-care providers and systems for their self-care, a situation that leads to poor adherence to therapies and poor outcomes. For example, patients may find it hard to complete all the exercises designed to help them regain full movement of their limbs after a stroke. Treatment burden has been poorly examined in relation to stroke. Here, the researchers identify and describe the treatment burden in stroke by undertaking a systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the literature on a given topic) of qualitative studies on the patient experience of stroke management. Qualitative studies collect non-quantitative data so, for example, a qualitative study on stroke treatment might ask people how the treatment made them feel whereas a quantitative study might compare clinical outcomes between those receiving and not receiving the treatment.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 69 qualitative studies dealing with the experiences of stroke management of adult patients and analyzed the data in these papers using framework synthesis—an approach that divides data into thematic categories. Specifically, the researchers used a coding framework informed by normalization process theory, a sociological theory of the implementation, embedding and integration of tasks and practices; embedding is the process of making tasks and practices a routine part of everyday life and integration refers to sustaining these embedded practices. The researchers identified four main areas of treatment burden for stroke: making sense of stroke management and planning care; interacting with others, including health care professionals, family and other patients with stroke; enacting management strategies (including enduring institutional admissions, managing stroke in the community, reintegrating into society and adjusting to life after stroke); and reflecting on management to make decisions about self-care. Moreover, they identified problems in all these areas, including inadequate provision of information, poor communication with health-care providers, and unsatisfactory inpatient care.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that stroke management is extremely demanding for patients and is influenced by both the micro and macro organization of health services. At the micro organizational level, fragmented care and poor communication between patients and clinicians and between health-care providers can mean patients are ill equipped to organize their care and develop coping strategies, which makes adherence to management strategies less likely. At the macro organizational level, it can be hard for patients to obtain the practical and financial help they need to manage their stroke in the community. Overall, these findings suggest that care provision for stroke needs to be transformed so that the needs of patients rather than the needs of health-care systems are prioritized. Further work is required, however, to understand how the patient experience of treatment burden is affected by the clinical characteristics of stroke, by disability level, and by other co-existing diseases. By undertaking such work, it should be possible to generate a patient-reported outcome measure of treatment burden that, if used by policy makers and health-care providers, has the potential to improve the quality of stroke care.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001473.
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about all aspects of stroke (in English and Spanish); its Know Stroke site provides educational materials about stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation including personal stories (in English and Spanish); the US National Institutes of Health SeniorHealth website has additional information about stroke
The Internet Stroke Center provides detailed information about stroke for patients, families, and health professionals (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website also provides information about stroke for patients and their families, including personal stories
MedlinePlus has links to additional resources about stroke (in English and Spanish)
The UK not-for-profit website Healthtalkonline provides personal stories about stroke
Wikipedia provides information on the burden of treatment and on the normalization process theory (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001473
PMCID: PMC3692487  PMID: 23824703
8.  Estimates of Outcomes Up to Ten Years after Stroke: Analysis from the Prospective South London Stroke Register 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(5):e1001033.
Charles Wolfe and colleagues collected data from the South London Stroke Register on 3,373 first strokes registered between 1995 and 2006 and showed that between 20% and 30% of survivors have poor outcomes up to 10 years after stroke.
Background
Although stroke is acknowledged as a long-term condition, population estimates of outcomes longer term are lacking. Such estimates would be useful for planning health services and developing research that might ultimately improve outcomes. This burden of disease study provides population-based estimates of outcomes with a focus on disability, cognition, and psychological outcomes up to 10 y after initial stroke event in a multi-ethnic European population.
Methods and Findings
Data were collected from the population-based South London Stroke Register, a prospective population-based register documenting all first in a lifetime strokes since 1 January 1995 in a multi-ethnic inner city population. The outcomes assessed are reported as estimates of need and included disability (Barthel Index <15), inactivity (Frenchay Activities Index <15), cognitive impairment (Abbreviated Mental Test < 8 or Mini-Mental State Exam <24), anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale >10), and mental and physical domain scores of the Medical Outcomes Study 12-item short form (SF-12) health survey. Estimates were stratified by age, gender, and ethnicity, and age-adjusted using the standard European population. Plots of outcome estimates over time were constructed to examine temporal trends and sociodemographic differences. Between 1995 and 2006, 3,373 first-ever strokes were registered: 20%–30% of survivors had a poor outcome over 10 y of follow-up. The highest rate of disability was observed 7 d after stroke and remained at around 110 per 1,000 stroke survivors from 3 mo to 10 y. Rates of inactivity and cognitive impairment both declined up to 1 y (280/1,000 and 180/1,000 survivors, respectively); thereafter rates of inactivity remained stable till year eight, then increased, whereas rates of cognitive impairment fluctuated till year eight, then increased. Anxiety and depression showed some fluctuation over time, with a rate of 350 and 310 per 1,000 stroke survivors, respectively. SF-12 scores showed little variation from 3 mo to 10 y after stroke. Inactivity was higher in males at all time points, and in white compared to black stroke survivors, although black survivors reported better outcomes in the SF-12 physical domain. No other major differences were observed by gender or ethnicity. Increased age was associated with higher rates of disability, inactivity, and cognitive impairment.
Conclusions
Between 20% and 30% of stroke survivors have a poor range of outcomes up to 10 y after stroke. Such epidemiological data demonstrate the sociodemographic groups that are most affected longer term and should be used to develop longer term management strategies that reduce the significant poor outcomes of this group, for whom effective interventions are currently elusive.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, 15 million people have a stroke. About 5 million of these people die within a few days, and another 5 million are left disabled. Stroke occurs when the brain's blood supply is suddenly interrupted by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain (ischemic stroke, the commonest type of stroke) or by a blood vessel in the brain bursting (hemorrhagic stroke). Deprived of the oxygen normally carried to them by the blood, the brain cells near the blockage die. The symptoms of stroke depend on which part of the brain is damaged but include sudden weakness or paralysis along one side of the body, vision loss in one or both eyes, and confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention because prompt treatment can limit the damage to the brain. Risk factors for stroke include age (three-quarters of strokes occur in people over 65 years old), high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Why Was This Study Done?
Post-stroke rehabilitation can help individuals overcome the physical disabilities caused by stroke, and drugs and behavioral counseling can reduce the risk of a second stroke. However, people can also have problems with cognition (thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment, and memory) after a stroke, and they can become depressed or anxious. These “outcomes” can persist for many years, but although stroke is acknowledged as a long-term condition, most existing data on stroke outcomes are limited to a year after the stroke and often focus on disability alone. Longer term, more extensive information is needed to help plan services and to help develop research to improve outcomes. In this burden of disease analysis, the researchers use follow-up data collected by the prospective South London Stroke Register (SLSR) to provide long-term population-based estimates of disability, cognition, and psychological outcomes after a first stroke. The SLSR has recorded and followed all patients of all ages in an inner area of South London after their first-ever stroke since 1995.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 1995 and 2006, the SLSR recorded 3,373 first-ever strokes. Patients were examined within 48 hours of referral to SLSR, their stroke diagnosis was verified, and their sociodemographic characteristics (including age, gender, and ethnic origin) were recorded. Study nurses and fieldworkers then assessed the patients at three months and annually after the stroke for disability (using the Barthel Index, which measures the ability to, for example, eat unaided), inactivity (using the Frenchay Activities Index, which measures participation in social activities), and cognitive impairment (using the Abbreviated Mental Test or the Mini-Mental State Exam). Anxiety and depression and the patients' perceptions of their mental and physical capabilities were also assessed. Using preset cut-offs for each outcome, 20%–30% of stroke survivors had a poor outcome over ten years of follow-up. So, for example, 110 individuals per 1,000 population were judged disabled from three months to ten years, rates of inactivity remained constant from year one to year eight, at 280 affected individuals per 1,000 survivors, and rates of anxiety and depression fluctuated over time but affected about a third of the population. Notably, levels of inactivity were higher among men than women at all time points and were higher in white than in black stroke survivors. Finally, increased age was associated with higher rates of disability, inactivity, and cognitive impairment.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although the accuracy of these findings may be affected by the loss of some patients to follow-up, these population-based estimates of outcome measures for survivors of a first-ever stroke for up to ten years after the event provide concrete evidence that stroke is a lifelong condition with ongoing poor outcomes. They also identify the sociodemographic groups of patients that are most affected in the longer term. Importantly, most of the measured outcomes remain relatively constant (and worse than outcomes in an age-matched non-stroke-affected population) after 3–12 months, a result that needs to be considered when planning services for stroke survivors. In other words, these findings highlight the need for health and social services to provide long-term, ongoing assessment and rehabilitation for patients for many years after a stroke.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001033.
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about all aspects of stroke (in English and Spanish); the US National Institute of Health SeniorHealth Web site has additional information about stroke
The Internet Stroke Center provides detailed information about stroke for patients, families, and health professionals (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices Web site also provides information about stroke for patients and their families
MedlinePlus has links to additional resources about stroke (in English and Spanish)
More information about the South London Stroke Register is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001033
PMCID: PMC3096613  PMID: 21610863
9.  Severity of leukoaraiosis correlates with clinical outcome after ischemic stroke 
Neurology  2009;72(16):1403-1410.
Background:
Leukoaraiosis (LA) is closely associated with aging, a major determinant of clinical outcome after ischemic stroke. In this study we sought to identify whether LA, independent of advancing age, affects outcome after acute ischemic stroke.
Methods:
LA volume was quantified in 240 patients with ischemic stroke and MRI within 24 hours of symptom onset. We explored the relationship between LA volume at admission and clinical outcome at 6 months, as assessed by the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). An ordinal logistic regression model was developed to analyze the independent effect of LA volume on clinical outcome.
Results:
Bivariate analyses showed a significant correlation between LA volume and mRS at 6 months (r = 0.19, p = 0.003). Mean mRS was 1.7 ± 1.8 among those in the lowest (≤1.2 mL) and 2.5 ± 1.9 in the highest (>9.9 mL) quartiles of LA volume (p = 0.01). The unfavorable prognostic effect of LA volume on clinical outcome was retained in the multivariable model (p = 0.002), which included age, gender, stroke risk factors (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation), previous history of brain infarction, admission plasma glucose level, admission NIH Stroke Scale score, IV rtPA treatment, and acute infarct volume on MRI as covariates.
Conclusions:
The volume of leukoaraiosis is a predictor of clinical outcome after ischemic stroke and this relationship persists after adjustment for important prognostic factors including age, initial stroke severity, and infarct volume.
GLOSSARY
= Causative Classification of Stroke;
= cardioaortic embolism;
= confidence interval;
= diffusion-weighted imaging;
= fluid-attenuated inversion recovery;
= interquartile range;
= leukoaraiosis;
= large artery atherosclerosis;
= modified Rankin Scale;
= National Institute of Health Stroke Scale;
= odds ratio;
= recombinant tissue plasminogen activator;
= small artery occlusion;
= Screening Technology and Outcome Project in Stroke Study;
= undetermined/unclassified.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181a18823
PMCID: PMC2677507  PMID: 19380699
10.  Risk factors of short-term stroke recurrence in patients with minor ischemic cerebrovascular events 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2013;9(2):119-127.
BACKGROUND
Assessing the risk of recurrent ischemic events in patients with transient ischemic attack (TIA) and minor ischemic stroke (MIS) is of a great importance in clinical practice.
METHODS
Consecutive patients with TIA or MIS who were visited in Ghaem Hospital, (Mashhad, Iran) were enrolled in a prospective cohort study during 2010 to 2011. Diagnosis of TIA or MIS was accomplished by a stroke neurologist. Only those who presented within 24 hours from the onset of symptoms were recruited. MIS was considered as an ischemic stroke with National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) < 4. The endpoint of the study was a new ischemic cerebrovascular event or vascular death in 90 days and additionally in 3 days. The decision to admit and type of treatment in each case was left to the discretion of the stroke neurologist. The association between 20 potential factors with recurrent ischemic events in 3 and 90 days was investigated using univariate and multivariate analysis (MVA).
RESULTS
393 TIA patients (238 males and 155 females) and 118 MIS patients (77 males and 41 females) were enrolled in the study. Stroke occurred in 117 (23.2%) patients, TIA in 99 (19.6%), and there was 11 (2.2%) vascular deaths within 3 months in the total 511 patients with minor ischemic events. Crescendo TIAs and multiple TIAs were associated with greater risk of stroke in 3 days in a univariate analysis (OR = 5.12, P < 0.001) and (OR = 3.98, P = 0.003), respectively. Patients with index stroke had 11.5% lower risk of recurrent stroke in 3 days than patients with index TIA in multivariate analysis (OR = 0.115, P = 0.039). Diabetes was independently associated with 3 months stroke recurrence in the patients with minor ischemic events (OR = 2.65, P = 0.039).
CONCLUSION
Multiple and crescendo TIAs are the main predictors of stroke recurrence, derived from the univariate analysis of the patients with minor ischemic events.
PMCID: PMC3653243  PMID: 23690811
Transient Ischemic Attacks; Infarction; Brain; Recurrence; Risk
11.  Anatomical Alterations of the Visual Motion Processing Network in Migraine with and without Aura 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(10):e402.
Background
Patients suffering from migraine with aura (MWA) and migraine without aura (MWoA) show abnormalities in visual motion perception during and between attacks. Whether this represents the consequences of structural changes in motion-processing networks in migraineurs is unknown. Moreover, the diagnosis of migraine relies on patient's history, and finding differences in the brain of migraineurs might help to contribute to basic research aimed at better understanding the pathophysiology of migraine.
Methods and Findings
To investigate a common potential anatomical basis for these disturbances, we used high-resolution cortical thickness measurement and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine the motion-processing network in 24 migraine patients (12 with MWA and 12 MWoA) and 15 age-matched healthy controls (HCs). We found increased cortical thickness of motion-processing visual areas MT+ and V3A in migraineurs compared to HCs. Cortical thickness increases were accompanied by abnormalities of the subjacent white matter. In addition, DTI revealed that migraineurs have alterations in superior colliculus and the lateral geniculate nucleus, which are also involved in visual processing.
Conclusions
A structural abnormality in the network of motion-processing areas could account for, or be the result of, the cortical hyperexcitability observed in migraineurs. The finding in patients with both MWA and MWoA of thickness abnormalities in area V3A, previously described as a source in spreading changes involved in visual aura, raises the question as to whether a “silent” cortical spreading depression develops as well in MWoA. In addition, these experimental data may provide clinicians and researchers with a noninvasively acquirable migraine biomarker.
A structural abnormality in the network of motion-processing areas could account for, or be the result of, the cortical hyperexcitability seen in people who have migraine.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Migraine is a disabling brain disorder that affects more than one in ten people during their lifetimes. It is characterized by severe, recurrent headaches, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity. In some migraineurs (people who have migraines), the headaches are preceded by neurological disturbances known as “aura.” These usually affect vision, causing illusions of flashing lights, zig-zag lines, or blind spots. There are many triggers for migraine attacks—including some foods, stress, and bright lights—and every migraineur has to learn what triggers his or her attacks. There is no cure for migraine, although over-the-counter painkillers can ease the symptoms and doctors can prescribe stronger remedies or drugs to reduce the frequency of attacks. Exactly what causes migraine is unclear but scientists think that, for some reason, the brains of migraineurs are hyperexcitable. That is, some nerve cells in their brains overreact when they receive electrical messages from the body. This triggers a local disturbance of brain function called “cortical spreading depression,” which, in turn, causes aura, headache, and the other symptoms of migraine.
Why Was This Study Done?
Researchers need to know more about what causes migraine to find better treatments. One clue comes from the observation that motion perception is abnormal in migraineurs, even between attacks—they can be very sensitive to visually induced motion sickness, for example. Another clue is that aura are usually visual. So could brain regions that process visual information be abnormal in people who have migraines? In this study, the researchers investigated the structure of the motion processing parts of the brain in people who have migraine with aura, in people who have migraine without aura, and in unaffected individuals to see whether there were any differences that might help them understand migraine.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used two forms of magnetic resonance imaging—a noninvasive way to produce pictures of internal organs—to examine the brains of migraineurs (when they weren't having a migraine) and healthy controls. They concentrated on two brain regions involved in motion processing known as the MT+ and V3A areas and first measured the cortical thickness of these areas—the cortex is the wrinkled layer of gray matter on the outside of the brain that processes information sent from the body. They found that the cortical thickness was increased in both of these areas in migraineurs when compared to healthy controls. There was no difference in cortical thickness between migraineurs who had aura and those who did not, but the area of cortical thickening in V3A corresponded to the source of cortical spreading depression previously identified in a person who had migraine with aura. The researchers also found differences between the white matter (the part of the brain that transfers information between different regions of the gray matter) immediately below the V3A and MT+ areas in the migraineurs and the controls but again not between the two groups of migraineurs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study provides new information about migraine. First, it identifies structural changes in the brains of people who have migraines. Until now, it has been thought that abnormal brain function causes migraine but that migraineurs have a normal brain structure. The observed structural differences might either account for or be caused by the hyperexcitability that triggers migraines. Because migraine runs in families, examining the brains of children of migraineurs as they grow up might indicate which of these options is correct, although it is possible that abnormalities in brain areas not examined here actually trigger migraines. Second, the study addresses a controversial question about migraine: Is migraine with aura the same as migraine without aura? The similar brain changes in both types of migraine suggest that they are one disorder. Third, the abnormalities in areas MT+ and V3A could help to explain why migraineurs have problems with visual processing even in between attacks. Finally, this study suggests that it might be possible to develop a noninvasive test to help doctors diagnose migraine.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030402.
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has several pages on migraine
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke offers patient information on migraine and other headaches
The NHS Direct Online contains patient information on migraine from the UK National Health Service
MAGNUM provides information from The US National Migraine Association
The Migraine Trust is a UK charity that supports research and provides support for patients
The Migraine Aura Foundation is a site about aura that includes a section on art and aura
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030402
PMCID: PMC1609120  PMID: 17048979
12.  Modifiable Etiological Factors and the Burden of Stroke from the Rotterdam Study: A Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(4):e1001634.
Using data from the Rotterdam study, Michiel Bos and colleagues estimate the proportion of strokes that are attributable to established modifiable etiological factors for stroke.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Stroke prevention requires effective treatment of its causes. Many etiological factors for stroke have been identified, but the potential gain of effective intervention on these factors in terms of numbers of actually prevented strokes remains unclear because of the lack of data from cohort studies. We assessed the impact of currently known potentially modifiable etiological factors on the occurrence of stroke.
Methods and Findings
This population-based cohort study was based on 6,844 participants of the Rotterdam Study who were aged ≥55 y and free from stroke at baseline (1990–1993). We computed population attributable risks (PARs) for individual risk factors and for risk factors in combination to estimate the proportion of strokes that could theoretically be prevented by the elimination of etiological factors from the population.
The mean age at baseline was 69.4 y (standard deviation 6.3 y). During follow-up (mean follow-up 12.9 y, standard deviation 6.3 y), 1,020 strokes occurred. The age- and sex-adjusted combined PAR of prehypertension/hypertension, smoking, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, coronary disease, and overweight/obesity was 0.51 (95% CI 0.41–0.62) for any stroke; hypertension and smoking were the most important etiological factors. C-reactive protein, fruit and vegetable consumption, and carotid intima-media thickness in combination raised the total PAR by 0.06. The PAR was 0.55 (95% CI 0.41–0.68) for ischemic stroke and 0.70 (95% CI 0.45–0.87) for hemorrhagic stroke.
The main limitations of our study are that our study population comprises almost exclusively Caucasians who live in a middle and high income area, and that risk factor awareness is higher in a study cohort than in the general population.
Conclusions
About half of all strokes are attributable to established causal and modifiable factors. This finding encourages not only intervention on established etiological factors, but also further study of less well established factors.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, 15 million people worldwide have a stroke. About 6 million of these people die within hours, and another 5 million are left disabled. Stroke occurs when the brain's blood supply is suddenly interrupted by a blood vessel in the brain being blocked by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or bursting (hemorrhagic stroke). Deprived of the oxygen normally carried to them by the blood, the brain cells near the blockage die. The symptoms of stroke depend on which part of the brain is damaged but include sudden weakness or paralysis along one side of the body, vision loss in one or both eyes, and trouble speaking or understanding speech. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention because prompt treatment can limit the damage to the brain. In the longer term, post-stroke rehabilitation can help overcome the disabilities caused by stroke, and various drugs alongside behavioral counselling can reduce the risk of a second stroke.
Why Was This Study Done?
Fifty years ago, it was discovered that treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension) reduces the risk of stroke among people with severe hypertension. This discovery led researchers to search for other potentially modifiable etiological factors for stroke (risk factors that cause stroke). The list of established etiological factors now includes smoking, diabetes, atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat), heart disease, and overweight/obesity, in addition to hypertension. But how many strokes would modification of these causal risk factors prevent? In this population-based cohort study, the researchers calculate the individual and combined population attributable risks (PARs) for these established etiological factors to provide an estimate of what proportion of strokes could theoretically be prevented by optimal treatment of known etiological factors. A population-based cohort study enrolls a group of people, determines their characteristics at baseline, and follows them to see whether specific characteristics are associated with specific outcomes. A PAR of an etiological factor for a disease indicates the proportion of that disease in the population that would not occur in the absence of the risk factor.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used data from 6,844 participants in the Rotterdam Study, which was designed to investigate the causes and consequences of long-term and disabling diseases in the elderly. At baseline, all of the participants were over 55 years old and free from stroke. During follow-up, 1,020 strokes occurred among the participants. Using data on exposure at baseline to various etiological factors for stroke, the researchers calculated PARs for individual factors and used a special statistical technique to calculate PARs for the factors in combination. The combined PAR of prehypertension/hypertension, smoking, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, heart disease, and overweight/obesity was 0.51 for any stroke. That is, about half of the strokes in the study population were attributable to this combination of etiological factors. Hypertension and smoking were the most important individual factors (PARs of 0.36 and 0.16, respectively). Notably, the inclusion of several less well established etiological factors (increased blood levels of C-reactive protein, low fruit and vegetable consumption, and thickening of the lining of arteries) only raised the total PAR for any stroke by 0.06.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that about half of the strokes in the study cohort were attributable to established modifiable etiological factors and could theoretically be prevented by eliminating these risk factors from the population. Previous studies have estimated that a larger proportion of strokes could be prevented by eliminating known etiological factors. The researchers acknowledge that some aspects of their study may have led to an underestimation of the proportion of stroke attributable to established etiological factors and note that their findings may not be generalizable to underprivileged or racially diverse populations. Nevertheless, they argue that previous studies are likely to have overestimated the PARs for stroke because they were based on case–control studies (in which exposure to etiological factors was assessed after a stroke had occurred in cases and control individuals, rather than before a stroke as in a population-based cohort study) and often did not use optimal statistical techniques to calculate the total PAR. Importantly, these new findings underscore the importance of interventions targeted at reducing smoking and hypertension and support the search for additional etiological factors for stroke.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001634.
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about all aspects of stroke (in English and Spanish); its Know Stroke site provides educational materials about stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation including personal stories (in English and Spanish); the US National Institutes of Health SeniorHealth website has additional information about stroke
The Internet Stroke Center provides detailed information about stroke for patients, families, and health professionals (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website also provides information about stroke for patients and their families, including personal stories
MedlinePlus has links to additional resources about stroke (in English and Spanish)
Information about the Rotterdam Study is available
The UK not-for-profit website Healthtalkonline provides personal stories about stroke
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001634
PMCID: PMC4004543  PMID: 24781247
13.  Differentiation of true transient ischemic attack versus transient ischemic attack mimics 
Iranian Journal of Neurology  2014;13(3):127-130.
Background: Previous literatures have shown a transient ischemic attack (TIA) mimic rate of 9-31%. We aimed to ascertain the proportion of stroke mimics amongst suspected TIA patients.
Methods: A prospective observational study was performed in Ghaem Hospital, Mashhad, Iran during 2012-2013. Consecutive TIA patients were identified in a stroke center. The initial diagnosis of TIA was made by the resident of neurology and final diagnosis of true TIA versus TIA mimics was made after 3 months follow-up by stroke subspecialist.
Results: A total of 310 patients were assessed during a 3-month period of which 182 (58.7%) subjects were male and 128 (41.3%) were female. Ten percent of the patients was categorized as a TIA mimic. The presence of hypertension, aphasia, duration of symptoms, and increased age was the strongest predictor of a true TIA. Migraine was the most common etiology of stroke mimic in our study.
Conclusion: It seems that many signs and symptoms have low diagnostic usefulness for discrimination of true TIA from non-cerebrovascular events and predictive usefulness of any sign or symptom should be interpreted by a stroke neurologist.
PMCID: PMC4240928  PMID: 25422730
Transient Ischemic Attack; Clinic; Symptom; Mimics
14.  A comparative study into the one year cumulative incidence of depression after stroke and myocardial infarction 
Background: The high incidence of post-stroke depression has been claimed to reflect a specific, stroke related pathogenesis in which lesion location plays an important role. To substantiate this claim, post-stroke depression should occur more often than depression after another acute, life threatening, disabling disease that does not involve cerebrovascular damage.
Objectives: To compare the cumulative one year incidence of depression after stroke and after myocardial infarction, taking into consideration differences in age, sex, and the level of handicap.
Methods: In a longitudinal design, 190 first ever stroke patients and 200 first ever myocardial infarction patients were followed up for one year. Depression self rating scales were used as a screening instrument to detect patients with depressive symptoms. Major and minor depression was assessed at one, three, six, nine, and 12 months after stroke or myocardial infarction according to DSM-IV criteria, using the structured clinical interview from DSM-IV. The severity of depressive symptoms was measured with the Hamilton depression rating scale. Level of disability and handicap was rated with the Rankin handicap scale.
Results: The cumulative one year incidence of major and minor depression was 37.8% in stroke patients and 25% in patients with myocardial infarction (hazard ratio 1.6; p = 0.06). This difference disappeared after controlling for sex, age, and level of handicap. In addition, no differences were found in the severity of depressive symptoms or in the time of onset of the depressive episode after stroke or myocardial infarction.
Conclusions: Depression occurs equally often during the first year after stroke and after myocardial infarction when non-specific factors such as sex, age, and level of handicap are taken into account. Thus the relatively high incidence of post-stroke depression seems not to reflect a specific pathogenic mechanism. Further research is needed to investigate whether vascular factors play a common role in the development of depression after stroke and myocardial infarction.
doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.5.581
PMCID: PMC1738412  PMID: 12700297
15.  Plasma brain natriuretic peptide as a surrogate marker for cardioembolic stroke 
BMC Neurology  2008;8:45.
Background
Cardioembolic stroke generally results in more severe disability, since it typically has a larger ischemic area than the other types of ischemic stroke. However, it is difficult to differentiate cardioembolic stroke from non-cardioembolic stroke (atherothrombotic stroke and lacunar stroke). In this study, we evaluated the levels of plasma brain natriuretic peptide in acute ischemic stroke patients with cardioembolic stroke or non-cardioembolic stroke, and assessed the prediction factors of plasma brain natriuretic peptide and whether we could differentiate between stroke subtypes on the basis of plasma brain natriuretic peptide concentrations in addition to patient's clinical variables.
Methods
Our patient cohort consisted of 131 consecutive patients with acute cerebral infarction who were admitted to Kagawa University School of Medicine Hospital from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2007. The mean age of patients (43 females, 88 males) was 69.6 ± 10.1 years. Sixty-two patients had cardioembolic stroke; the remaining 69 patients had non-cardioembolic stroke (including atherothrombotic stroke, lacunar stroke, or the other). Clinical variables and the plasma brain natriuretic peptide were evaluated in all patients.
Results
Plasma brain natriuretic peptide was linearly associated with atrial fibrillation, heart failure, chronic renal failure, and left atrial diameter, independently (F4,126 = 27.6, p < 0.0001; adjusted R2 = 0.45). Furthermore, atrial fibrillation, mitral regurgitation, plasma brain natriuretic peptide (> 77 pg/ml), and left atrial diameter (> 36 mm) were statistically significant independent predictors of cardioembolic stroke in the multivariable setting (Χ2 = 127.5, p < 0.001).
Conclusion
It was suggested that cardioembolic stroke was strongly predicted with atrial fibrillation and plasma brain natriuretic peptide. Plasma brain natriuretic peptide can be a surrogate marker for cardioembolic stroke.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-8-45
PMCID: PMC2621245  PMID: 19077217
16.  Migraine and Stroke: “Vascular” Comorbidity 
Several comorbidities are associated to migraine. Recent meta-analyses have consistently demonstrated a relationship between migraine and stroke, which is well-defined for ischemic stroke and migraine with aura (MA), even stronger in females on oral contraceptives or smokers. However, there seems to be no clear-cut association between stroke in migraineurs and the common vascular risk factors, at least in the young adult population. Migraineurs also run an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, while the association between migraine and cardiovascular disease remains poorly defined. Another aspect is the relationship between migraine and the presence of silent brain lesions. It has been demonstrated that there is an increased frequency of ischemic lesions in the white matter of migraineurs, especially silent infarcts in the posterior circulation territory in patients with at least 10 attacks per month. Although there is a higher prevalence of patent foramen ovale (PFO) in migraineurs, the relationship between migraine and PFO remains controversial and PFO closure is not a recommended procedure to prevent migraine. As an increased frequency of cervical artery dissections has been observed in migrainous patients, it has been hypothesized that migraine may represent a predisposing factor for cervical artery dissection. There still remains the question as to whether migraine should be considered a true “vascular disease” or if the comorbidity between migraine and cerebrovascular disease may have underlying shared risk factors or pathophysiological mechanisms. Although further studies are required to clarify this issue, current evidence supports a clinical management where MA patients should be screened for other concomitant vascular risk factors and treated accordingly.
doi:10.3389/fneur.2014.00193
PMCID: PMC4189436  PMID: 25339937
migraine; stroke; ischemic stroke; hemorrhagic stroke; cerebrovascular disease; vascular risk factors
17.  Risk of recurrent stroke in patients with silent brain infarction in the PRoFESS Imaging Substudy 
Background and Purpose
Silent brain infarctions are associated with an increased risk of stroke in healthy individuals. Risk of recurrent stroke in patients with both symptomatic and silent brain infarction (SBI) has only been investigated in patients with cardioembolic stroke in the European Atrial Fibrillation Trial. We assessed whether patients with recent non-cardioembolic stroke and SBI detected on MRI are at increased risk for recurrent stroke, other cardiovascular events, and mortality.
Methods
The prevalence of SBI detected on MRI was assessed in 1014 patients enrolled in the imaging substudy of the Prevention Regimen for Effectively Avoiding Second Strokes (PRoFESS) trial. The primary outcome was first recurrence of stroke in patients with both symptomatic stroke and SBI in comparison with age and sex matched stroke patients without SBI. Secondary outcomes were a combined vascular endpoint, other vascular events and mortality. The two groups were compared using conditional logistic regression.
Results
Silent brain infarction was detected in 207 (20.4%) patients of the 1014 patients. Twenty-seven (13.0%) patients with SBI and 19 (9.2%) without SBI had a recurrent stroke (odds ratio 1.42, 95% confidence interval 0.79 to 2.56; p=0.24) during a mean follow-op of 2.5 years. Similarly, there was no statistically significant difference for all secondary outcome parameters between patients with SBI and matched patients without SBI.
Conclusion
The presence of SBI in patients with recent mild non-cardioembolic ischemic stroke could not be shown to be an independent risk factor for recurrent stroke, other vascular events, or a higher mortality.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.631739
PMCID: PMC3266606  PMID: 22267825
Cerebral infarction; silent brain infarction; ischemic stroke; magnetic resonance imaging; mortality
18.  The Outcome of Patients with Mild Stroke Improves after Treatment with Systemic Thrombolysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59420.
Introduction
In up to one third of patients with mild stroke suitable to receive systemic thrombolysis the treatment is not administered because the treating physicians estimate a good spontaneous recovery. However, it is not settled whether the fate of these patients is equivalent to those who are thrombolysed.
Methods
We analyzed 203 consecutive patients (134 men and 69 women, mean age 69±14 years) without premorbid disability and a NIHSS score ≤5 at admission [median 3 (IQR 2–4)]. Intravenous thrombolysis was administered within 4.5 hours from stroke onset (n = 119), or it was withheld (n = 84) whenever the treating physician predicted a spontaneous recovery. The baseline risk factors, clinical course, infarction volume, bleeding complications, and functional outcome at 3 months were analyzed and declared to a Web-based registry which was accessible to the local Health Authorities.
Results
Expectedly, not thrombolysed patients had the mildest strokes at admission [median 2 (IQR 1–3.75)]. At day 2 to 5, the infarct volume on DWI-MRI was similar in both groups. There were no symptomatic cerebral bleedings in the study. An ordinal regression model adjusted for baseline stroke severity showed that thrombolysis was associated with a greater proportion of patients who shifted down on the modified Rankin Scale score at 3 months (OR 2.66; 95% CI 1.49–4.74, p = 0.001).
Conclusions
Intravenous thrombolysis seems to be safe in patients with mild stroke and may be associated with improved outcome compared with untreated patients. These results support the evaluation of the efficacy of intravenous thrombolysis in mild stroke patients in randomized clinical trials.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059420
PMCID: PMC3602063  PMID: 23527192
19.  Patent Foramen Ovale, Subclinical Cerebrovascular Disease and Ischemic Stroke in a Population-Based Cohort 
Objectives
To evaluate the relationship between patent foramen ovale (PFO), ischemic stroke and subclinical cerebrovascular disease in the general population.
Background
PFO is more frequently found in stroke patients than in stroke-free controls. However, the PFO-related stroke risk in the general population is not well established, and the relationship between PFO and silent brain infarcts (SBI) is not known.
Methods
PFO presence was assessed by transthoracic echocardiography with saline contrast injection in 1,100 stroke-free individuals over age 39 of a community-based sample followed for a mean of 11 years. In addition, 360 participants underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for SBI detection. We evaluated the risk of stroke associated with PFO after adjusting for established stroke risk factors, and examined the odds of having SBI among those with and without PFO.
Results
A PFO was present in 164 participants (14.9%). Over a mean follow up of 11.0 ± 4.5 years, 111 ischemic strokes occurred (10.1%), 15 (9.2%) in the PFO + and 96 (10.3%) in the PFO− groups. The 12.5 year cumulative risk of stroke was 10.1% (standard error 2.5%) in the PFO+ and 10.4% (standard error 1.1%) in the PFO− group (p=0.46). The adjusted hazard ratio for PFO and stroke was 1.10 (95% confidence interval 0.64–1.91). In the MRI subcohort, PFO was not associated with SBI (adjusted odds ratio 1.15, 95% CI 0.50–2.62).
Conclusions
In this community-based cohort, PFO was not associated with an increased risk of clinical stroke or subclinical cerebrovascular disease.
doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2013.03.064
PMCID: PMC3696432  PMID: 23644084
Echocardiography; Cerebrovascular Disorders; Atrium; Stroke; Epidemiology
20.  A Trial of Imaging Selection and Endovascular Treatment for Ischemic Stroke 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;368(10):914-923.
BACKGROUND
Whether brain imaging can identify patients who are most likely to benefit from therapies for acute ischemic stroke and whether endovascular thrombectomy improves clinical outcomes in such patients remains unclear.
METHODS
In this study, we randomly assigned patients within 8 hours after the onset of large-vessel, anterior-circulation strokes to undergo mechanical embolectomy (Merci Retriever or Penumbra System) or receive standard care. All patients underwent pretreatment computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. Randomization was stratified according to whether the patient had a favorable penumbral pattern (substantial salvageable tissue and small infarct core) or a non-penumbral pattern (large core or small or absent penumbra). We assessed outcomes using the 90-day modified Rankin scale, ranging from 0 (no symptoms) to 6 (dead).
RESULTS
Among 118 eligible patients, the mean age was 65.5 years, the mean time to enrollment was 5.5 hours, and 58% had a favorable penumbral pattern. Revascularization in the embolectomy group was achieved in 67% of the patients. Ninety-day mortality was 21%, and the rate of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage was 4%; neither rate differed across groups. Among all patients, mean scores on the modified Rankin scale did not differ between embolectomy and standard care (3.9 vs. 3.9, P = 0.99). Embolectomy was not superior to standard care in patients with either a favorable penumbral pattern (mean score, 3.9 vs. 3.4; P = 0.23) or a nonpenumbral pattern (mean score, 4.0 vs. 4.4; P = 0.32). In the primary analysis of scores on the 90-day modified Rankin scale, there was no interaction between the pretreatment imaging pattern and treatment assignment (P = 0.14).
CONCLUSIONS
A favorable penumbral pattern on neuroimaging did not identify patients who would differentially benefit from endovascular therapy for acute ischemic stroke, nor was embolectomy shown to be superior to standard care. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; MR RESCUE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00389467.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1212793
PMCID: PMC3690785  PMID: 23394476
21.  Cognitive profile in patients with a first-ever lacunar infarct with and without silent lacunes: a comparative study 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:203.
Background
The detection of early neuropsychological abnormalities as precursors of cognitive decline of vascular origin in patients with lacunar stroke is a subject of increasing interest. The objective of this study was to assess whether there were differences in the performance of a battery of neuropsychological tests in first-ever lacunar stroke patients with and without associated silent multiple lacunar infarctions found incidentally on the brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
Methods
A total of 72 consecutive patients with first-ever lacunar infarction were studied 1 month after stroke. All patients underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation, which included the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), Phonetic Verbal Fluency Test (PMR), Semantic Verbal Fluency Test (category “animals”), Digit Span Forward and Backward from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III), and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).
Results
A total of 38 patients (52.7%) had silent multiple lacunar infarcts, with corona radiata as the most frequent topography (P < 0.023). White matter hyperintensities (leukoaraiosis) were observed in 81.1% of patients with silent multiple lacunar infarcts and in 50% with a single lacunar infarction (P < 0.007). Patients in both groups showed similar scores in the MMSE, but those with associated silent lacunar infarctions showed a poorer performance in the semantic fluency test (P < 0.008) and in short delayed verbal memory (P < 0.001). In both cases, however, leukoaraiosis was not statistically significant in multivariate linear regression models adjusted by confounding covariates. In these models, multiple silent lacunar infarctions and education were independent predictors of poor performance in the semantic fluency test and in short delayed verbal memory.
Conclusions
The presence of silent multiple lacunar infarctions documented on brain MRI scans in patients with first-ever lacunar stroke was associated with mild neuropsychological abnormalities, particularly in the performance of executive functions (semantic fluency) and short delayed verbal memory. According to these findings, in the initial stages of small vessel disease, mild neuropsychological abnormalities appear to be related to lacunes rather than to leukoaraiosis or perivascular hyperintensities of vascular cause.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-203
PMCID: PMC3866944  PMID: 24341857
California verbal learning test; Lacunar infarction; Neuropsychological abnormalities; MRI; Semantic fluency; Silent multiple lacunar infarctions; Vascular cognitive impairment
22.  Effects of Blood Pressure Targets in Patients with Recent Lacunar Stroke 
Lancet  2013;382(9891):507-515.
BACKGROUND
Lowering blood pressure (BP) prevents stroke, however optimal target levels of blood reduction to prevent stroke recurrence are lacking. We hypothesized that targeting systolic BP of <130 mmHg would reduce stroke recurrence in patients with recent lacunar stroke.
METHODS
The Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes (SPS3) was a multi-center international trial, involving 3020 patients with recent symptomatic MRI-defined lacunar infarcts randomized to two target levels of systolic BP: a) higher group 130–149 mm Hg vs. b) lower group <130 mm Hg, and followed for a mean of 3.7 years. The primary outcome was all recurrent stroke (including ischemic strokes and intracranial hemorrhages). The study is registered, NCT 00059306.
FINDINGS
Mean participant age was 63 years; after 1 year mean systolic BP was 138 mm Hg (95% CI 137 to 139) in the higher group and 127 mm Hg (95% CI, 126 to 128) in the lower group. At last study visit, the difference in systolic BP between groups averaged 11 mm Hg (±SD 16). The annualized rate of recurrent stroke in the higher target group was 2.77% (n=152) compared with 2.25% (n=125) in the lower target group (HR 0.81, 95% CI 0.64, 1.03, p-value 0.08). Similar trends were observed for reductions in disabling/fatal stroke (HR 0.81, 95%CI 0.53, 1.23, p-value 0.32) and in the composite outcome of stroke, myocardial infarct or vascular death (HR 0.84, 95%CI 0.68,1.01, p-value 0.10). Intracerebral hemorrhage was reduced by 63% in those assigned to the lower target group (HR 0.37 95% CI, 0.14, 0.89, p-value 0.03). Serious complications of BP lowering were in frequent, and not significantly different in frequency between groups.
INTERPRETATION
In patients with recent lacunar stroke, targeting asystolic BP of< 130 mm Hg did not significantly reduce all stroke, but markedly reduced intracerebral hemorrhage. The lower target was safe and well tolerated.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60852-1
PMCID: PMC3979302  PMID: 23726159
23.  Vasoreactivity and peri-infarct hyperintensities in stroke 
Neurology  2009;72(7):643-649.
Objective:
It is unknown if impaired cerebral vasoreactivity recovers after ischemic stroke, and whether it compromises perfusion in regions surrounding infarct and other vascular territories. We investigated the regional differences in CO2 vasoreactivity (CO2VR) and their relationships to peri-infarct T2 hyperintensities (PIHs), chronic infarct volumes, and clinical outcomes.
Methods:
We studied 39 subjects with chronic large middle cerebral artery territory infarcts and 48 matched controls. Anatomic and three-dimensional continuous arterial spin labeling imaging at 3-Tesla MRI were used to measure regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) and CO2VR during normocapnia, hypercapnia, and hypocapnia in main arteries distributions.
Results:
Stroke patients showed a significantly lower augmentation of blood flow at increased CO2 but greater reduction of blood flow with decreased CO2 than the control group. This altered vasoregulatory response was observed both ipsilateral and contralateral to the stroke. Lower CO2VR on the stroke side was associated with PIHs, greater infarct volume, and worse outcomes. The cases with PIHs (n = 27) had lower CBF during all conditions bilaterally (p < 0.0001) compared to cases with infarct only.
Conclusions:
Perfusion augmentation is inadequate in multiple vascular territories in patients with large artery ischemic infarcts, but vasoconstriction is preserved. Peri-infarct T2 hyperintensities are associated with lower blood flow. Strategies aimed to preserve vasoreactivity after an ischemic stroke should be tested for their effect on long-term outcomes.
GLOSSARY
= anterior cerebral artery;
= apparent diffusion coefficient;
= blood pressure;
= continuous arterial spin labeling;
= cerebral blood flow;
= CO2 vasoreactivity;
= diffusion-weighted image;
= fluid-attenuated inversion recovery;
= field of view;
= gray matter;
= low-density lipoprotein;
= middle cerebral artery;
= magnetization prepared rapid gradient echo;
= modified Rankin Scale;
= NIH Stroke Scale;
= posterior cerebral artery;
= peri-infarct T2 hyperintensities;
= echo time;
= inversion time;
= repetition time;
= white blood cell;
= white matter.
doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000342473.65373.80
PMCID: PMC2677535  PMID: 19221298
24.  Chronic Kidney Disease Is an Independent Predictor of Adverse Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Recent Small Subcortical Infarcts 
Cerebrovascular Diseases Extra  2014;4(2):174-181.
Background
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with cerebral small vessel diseases (SVD) and predicts stroke, cardiovascular events and mortality. However, its association with recent small subcortical infarcts (RSSI), a novel subtype of cerebral SVD, has not yet been established in stroke patients. The aim of this longitudinal study was to clarify whether CKD can predict clinical outcome in patients with RSSI.
Methods
We enrolled patients with first-ever RSSI (formerly categorized as acute lacunar stroke). CKD was defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate of <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 on admission. The patients were divided into two groups according to the presence or absence of CKD. The endpoints were recurrent stroke, cardiovascular events or all-cause mortality. The patients were followed up at 3, 6 and 12 months after stroke onset and yearly thereafter. Event-free survival analysis was undertaken using Kaplan-Meier plots and the log-rank test. Cox's proportional-hazards analysis was conducted regarding age, sex and the presence of any cerebral SVD.
Results
A total of 152 patients (66% males; mean age: 67.6 years) were consecutively enrolled, and 44 (29%) had CKD. During the follow-up period (median: 3 years; interquartile range: 1-4), 27 patients (18%) reached endpoints. The numbers of patients per endpoint were as follows: all-cause mortality 14, ischemic stroke 9, hemorrhagic stroke 2 and aortic dissection 2. Patients with CKD were significantly older (77 vs. 64 years; p < 0.001), had higher serum creatinine (0.96 vs. 0.65 mg/dl; p < 0.001), higher brain natriuretic peptide (51.1 vs. 18.5 pg/ml; p < 0.001) and a higher National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score on admission (3 vs. 2; p < 0.001), and were less likely to have modified Rankin Scale scores of 0-2 after stroke onset (52 vs. 77%; p = 0.003). Patients with white matter hyperintensity [odds ratio (OR) 3.0; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.5-6.2; p = 0.003] and those with microbleeds (OR 2.5; 95% CI: 1.2-5.1; p = 0.015) had more pronounced CKD than the remaining patients. A Kaplan-Meier curve analysis showed that patients with CKD had a less favorable outcome than those without CKD (p < 0.001). The multivariate Cox proportional-hazards analysis revealed that CKD was associated with recurrent stroke, cardiovascular events or all-cause mortality (hazard ratio 2.22; 95% CI: 1.12-4.25; p = 0.02).
Conclusions
CKD was found to be independently associated with recurrent stroke, cardiovascular events or all-cause mortality in patients with RSSI.
doi:10.1159/000365565
PMCID: PMC4174758  PMID: 25276119
Chronic kidney disease; Lacunar stroke; Renal impairment; Recent small subcortical infarcts; Small vessel disease; Stroke
25.  Young Women’s Stroke Etiology Differs from that in Young Men: an Analysis of 511 Patients 
Neurology International  2013;5(3):e12.
Women are known to have particular heterogeneity in stroke etiology related to childbearing and hormonal factors. Although there are continued acute stroke treatment advances focusing on clot dissolution or extraction, effective secondary prevention of stroke, however, is dependent on an accurate etiological determination of the stroke. Otherwise, more strokes are likely to follow. Analysis of young women’s stroke etiology in a large stroke registry incorporating contemporary neurovascular and parenchymal imaging and cardiac imaging. Young people (18-49 years old) with stroke were consecutively accrued over a 4 year period and an investigative protocol prospectively applied that incorporated multimodality magnetic resonance imaging, angiography, cardiac echo and stroke relevant blood investigations. All patients were classified according to an expanded Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment – TOAST – classification and neurological deficit by the National Institute of Health stroke admission scores. In 511 registry derived, young stroke patients (mean age 39.8 years, 95% confidence interval: 39.1; 40.7 years), gender (women n=269, 53%) the etiological categories (women; men) included: i) small vessel disease (30/55;25/55), ii) cardioembolic (16/42;26/42), iii) large vessel cervical and intracranial disease (24/43;19/43), the other category (132/226; 91/226), which included, iv) substance abuse (15/41; 26/41, 4.6), v) prothrombotic states (22/37;15/37), vi) dissection (11/30;19/30), vii) cerebral venous thrombosis (15/19; 4/19, 12.4), viii) vasculitis (8/12; 4/12), ix) migraine related (10/11, 1/11) and x) miscellaneous vasculopathy (38/52;14/52). The latter entities comprised of aortic arch atheroma, vessel redundancy syndrome, vertebrobasilar hypoplasia, arterial fenestrations and dolichoectasia. Some conditions occurred solely in women, such as eclampsia (5), Call Fleming syndrome (4), fibromuscular dysplasia (3) and Moya Moya syndrome (2). Categories aside from bland infarction included: ii) intracerebral hemorrhage (43/106; 63/106) and xiii) stroke of undetermined etiology (6/10; 4/10). Admission mean National Institute of Health Stroke Scale scores differed significantly between women and men (4.7; 6.0 t=1.8, P=0.03). Young women’s stroke is significantly different from men in 7/12 stroke etiological categories in addition to 4 unique subtypes that require specific management.
doi:10.4081/ni.2013.e12
PMCID: PMC3794447  PMID: 24147209
stroke; young people; gender differences

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