Benefits of Clopidogrel and Aspirin In Minor Stroke and High-Risk TIA

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. S. Claiborne "Clay" Johnston MD, PhD Dean Vice President for Medical Affairs Frank and Charmaine Denius Distinguished Dean’s Chair Dell Medical School The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Johnston

Dr. S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston MD, PhD
Dean
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Frank and Charmaine Denius Distinguished Dean’s Chair
Dell Medical School
The University of Texas at Austin

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior studies have shown that the risk of a stroke or other ischemic events is high in the days to weeks after a TIA or minor stroke.

We sought to test whether blocking platelet aggregation more effectively with clopidogrel plus aspirin could reduce this risk compared to aspirin alone.  We found that the combination did reduce risk of major ischemic events.  It also showed a small increase in risk of major hemorrhage, but for most people the benefits would outweigh the potential risk.

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CT Scan May Predict Risk of Second Stroke

Jeff Perry, MD, MSc, CCFP-EM Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute Research Chair in Emergency Neurological Research, University of Ottawa Emergency Physician, The Ottawa Hospital Epidemiology Program, F6 The Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus Ottawa, Ontario MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Jeff Perry, MD, MSc, CCFP-EM

Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine
Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Research Chair in Emergency Neurological Research, University of Ottawa Emergency Physician, Epidemiology Program,
The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Perry: Currently many patients with a TIA or non-disabling stroke have a subsequent stroke which may be very disabling or result in death prior to having all investigations completed and maximal stroke prevention implemented.  Prior to this study, the utility of CT findings for predicting subsequent stroke was incompletely understood in this patient population.

Dr. Perry:
Main findings: Compared to patients without ischemia, the probability of another stroke occurring within 90 days of the initial episode was:

  • 2.6 times greater if the CT image revealed newly damaged tissue due to poor circulation (acute ischemia);
  • 5.35 times greater if tissue was previously damaged (chronic ischemia) in addition to acute ischemia;
  • 4.9 times greater if any type of small vessel damage occurred in the brain, such as narrowing of the small vessels (microangiopathy), in addition to acute ischemia;
  • 8.04 times greater if acute and chronic ischemia occurred in addition to microangiopathy.

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TIA Increases Risk of PTSD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kathrin S. Utz, PhD
Department of Neurology
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Erlangen, German

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Utz: A transient ischemic attack is caused when there is a temporary disruption in the blood supply to a person’s brain. It causes the person to experience symptoms, similar to those of a stroke, such as speech and visual disturbance and numbness or weakness in the arms and legs. A transient ischemic attack is only temporary and people make a full physical recovery from it. We found, however, that a TIA is not without cost. Specifically, we found that such persons are at a greater risk of going on to develop the psychiatric condition known as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We found 1 in 3 patients develop it. PTSD, which is perhaps better known as a problem found in survivors of war zones and natural, can develop when a person experiences a frightening event that poses a serious threat. It leads the person to experience symptoms such as worry, nightmares, flashbacks and social isolation. We found that TIA patients who develop PTSD are also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety symptoms. Taken together these symptoms pose a significant psychological burden for the affected patients and it therefore comes as no surprise that we also found TIA patients with PTSD have a measurably lower sense of quality of life than TIA patients who do not develop PTSD. We could also identify some potential risk-factors for the development of PTSD following a TIA. Younger patients and patients who overestimate their future stroke risk are more likely to develop PTSD. Also important in this context are the strategies that patients typically adopt to deal with stressful situations. Those patients who use certain types of coping strategies, such as denying the problem, blaming themselves for any difficulties or turning to drugs for comfort, face a greater risk of developing PTSD after TIA.

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Study Finds Missed Opportunities to Prevent Stroke After TIA

Sripal Bangalore, MD, MHA, FACC, FAHA, FSCAI, Director of Research, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Director, Cardiovascular Outcomes Group, The Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, Associate Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sripal Bangalore, MD, MHA, FACC, FAHA, FSCAI,
Director of Research, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory,
Director, Cardiovascular Outcomes Group,
Associate Professor of Medicine,
New York University School of Medicine
New York, NY 10016.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of your study?

Dr. Bangalore: Patients with transient ischemic attack (TIA) are at increased risk of future full blown stroke, making institution of secondary prevention measures critical

Our data from 858,835 patients from 1545 sites indicate that hospital adherence to evidence-based secondary prevention discharge measures was consistently less for patients with transient ischemic attack when compared with those with ischemic stroke, thus representing a missed opportunity at instituting preventive measures to reduce the risk of future stroke.

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