Posts Tagged ‘Stroke prevention’

Stroke Warnings:Most People Who Experience Minor Strokes Do Not Recognize Its Symptoms

April 29, 2010

According to an article published by WebMD, a recent study suggests that most people who experience minor strokes or transient ischemic attacks (TIA’s) do not recognize their symptoms and/or do not seek timely medical attention.A stroke is generally defined as an interruption of blood flow to the brain.

Strokes can be divided into two categories: hemorrhagic strokes and ischemic strokes. TIA is a condition that manifests itself with stroke-like symptoms for less than 24 hours. TIA does not by itself result in lasting neurological damage. However, people who experience TIA episodes often develop strokes. According to the article, one in 20 patients with TIA will develop a major stroke.

After interviewing about 1000 patients, researchers concluded that about 70% of the patients did not recognize TIA or minor stroke symptoms and that less than half of the patients with these conditions sought medical attention within three hours from the onset of symptoms.    

If you are at an increased risk for developing a stroke, ask your doctor for information on TIA and stroke symptoms. Early medical intervention is key in treating stokes. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with some of the TIA/stroke symptoms.

According to the article, people who experience minor strokes may develop one or more of the following:

  • sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body
  • sudden trouble speaking or understanding
  • confusion
  • sudden vision problems in one or both eyes
  • dizziness, loss of balance, or sudden trouble walking
  • severe headache with no obvious cause

Remember – time is of the essence in getting treatment. Certain therapies (e.g. tPA) simply can not be administered to you if too many hours pass.

Contributing author: Jon Stefanuca

Landmark NIH Clinical Trial Comparing Two Stroke Prevention Procedures Shows Surgery and Stenting Equally Safe and Effective

March 2, 2010

The National Institutes of Health issued a news release regarding a landmark clinical trial relating to stroke.

A stroke can be one of the most devastating medical conditions that a person can suffer. Not only can it cause immediate death (stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States), but it can also cause severe neurologic deficits that can leave a once-healthy person with severe mental and physical limitations. Therefore, researchers are always looking at new ways to try to prevent stroke.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recently published the results of a major nine-year clinical trial that evaluated two methods of preventing future stroke: carotid endarectomy, or CEA, which is a surgical procedure to clear blocked blood flow, and carotid artery stenting, which is a newer and less invasive procedure that implants a small, expandable device in the artery to widen the blocked area. The good news for patients is that both methods proved to be safe and effective in both men and women.

“The CREST trial results show that we now have two safe and effective methods to treat carotid artery   disease directly, the tried and true CEA, and the new kid on the block, CAS,” said Thomas G. Brott, M.D., professor of neurology and director for research at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, and the study’s national principal investigator. “

The study found that the two methods were not perfectly equal, however. In patients over 70 years old, for example, the surgical procedure (CEA) results were slightly superior to stenting. Also, the study noted a difference in heart attacks and strokes:

The investigators found that there were more heart attacks in the surgical group, 2.3 percent compared to 1.1 percent in the stenting group; and more strokes in the stenting group, 4.1 percent versus 2.3 percent for the surgical group in the weeks following the procedure.

What this study means to patients is that doctors now have two safe and effective means of trying to prevent future stroke, and can choose the procedure that best fits that patient.

“The CREST trial provides doctors and patients with much needed risk/benefit information to help choose the best carotid procedure based on an individual’s health history. This personalized decision making should translate into improved patient outcomes,” said Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., deputy director of NINDS.

Added Dr. Brott, “People have some very good options for stroke prevention that we hope will not only extend the length but also the quality of their lives.”

Contributing Author: Michael Sanders