Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
  • National Stroke Association guidelines for the management of transient ischemic attacks.

    14 May 2018

    OBJECTIVE: Transient ischemic attacks are common and important harbingers of subsequent stroke. Management varies widely, and most published guidelines have not been updated in several years. We sought to create comprehensive, unbiased, evidence-based guidelines for the management of patients with transient ischemic attacks. METHODS: Fifteen expert panelists were selected based on objective criteria, using publication metrics that predicted nomination by practitioners in the field. Prior published guidelines were identified through systematic review, and recommendations derived from them were rated independently for quality by the experts. Highest quality recommendations were selected and subsequently edited by the panelists using a modified Delphi approach with multiple iterations of questionnaires to reach consensus on new changes. Experts were provided systematic reviews of recent clinical studies and were asked to justify wording changes based on new evidence and to rate the final recommendations based on level of evidence and quality. No expert was allowed to contribute to recommendations on a topic for which there could be any perception of a conflict of interest. RESULTS: Of 257 guidelines documents identified by systematic review, 13 documents containing 137 recommendations met all entry criteria. Six iterations of questionnaires were required to reach consensus on wording of 53 final recommendations. Final recommendations covered initial management, evaluation, medical treatment, surgical treatment, and risk factor management. INTERPRETATION: The final recommendations on the care of patients with transient ischemic attacks emphasize the importance of urgent evaluation and treatment. The novel approach used to develop these guidelines is feasible, allows for rapid updating, and may reduce bias.

  • Sex Differences in Long-Term Mortality After Stroke in the INSTRUCT (INternational STRoke oUtComes sTudy): A Meta-Analysis of Individual Participant Data.

    23 May 2018

    BACKGROUND: Women are reported to have greater mortality after stroke than men, but the reasons are uncertain. We examined sex differences in mortality at 1 and 5 years after stroke and identified factors contributing to these differences. METHODS AND RESULTS: Individual participant data for incident strokes were obtained from 13 population-based incidence studies conducted in Europe, Australasia, South America, and the Caribbean between 1987 and 2013. Data on sociodemographics, stroke-related factors, prestroke health, and 1- and 5-year survival were obtained. Poisson modeling was used to estimate the mortality rate ratio (MRR) for women compared with men at 1 year (13 studies) and 5 years (8 studies) after stroke. Study-specific adjusted MRRs were pooled to create a summary estimate using random-effects meta-analysis. Overall, 16 957 participants with first-ever stroke followed up at 1 year and 13 216 followed up to 5 years were included. Crude pooled mortality was greater for women than men at 1 year (MRR 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.24-1.47) and 5 years (MRR 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 1.12-1.38). However, these pooled sex differences were reversed after adjustment for confounding factors (1 year MRR, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.72-0.92 and 5-year MRR, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.65-0.89). Confounding factors included age, prestroke functional limitations, stroke severity, and history of atrial fibrillation. CONCLUSIONS: Greater mortality in women is mostly because of age but also stroke severity, atrial fibrillation, and prestroke functional limitations. Lower survival after stroke among the elderly is inevitable, but there may be opportunities for intervention, including better access to evidence-based care for cardiovascular and general health.

  • Loci associated with ischaemic stroke and its subtypes (SiGN): a genome-wide association study.

    23 May 2018

    BACKGROUND: The discovery of disease-associated loci through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) is the leading genetic approach to the identification of novel biological pathways underlying diseases in humans. Until recently, GWAS in ischaemic stroke have been limited by small sample sizes and have yielded few loci associated with ischaemic stroke. We did a large-scale GWAS to identify additional susceptibility genes for stroke and its subtypes. METHODS: To identify genetic loci associated with ischaemic stroke, we did a two-stage GWAS. In the first stage, we included 16 851 cases with state-of-the-art phenotyping data and 32 473 stroke-free controls. Cases were aged 16 to 104 years, recruited between 1989 and 2012, and subtypes of ischaemic stroke were recorded by centrally trained and certified investigators who used the web-based protocol, Causative Classification of Stroke (CCS). We constructed case-control strata by identifying samples that were genotyped on nearly identical arrays and were of similar genetic ancestral background. We cleaned and imputed data by use of dense imputation reference panels generated from whole-genome sequence data. We did genome-wide testing to identify stroke-associated loci within each stratum for each available phenotype, and we combined summary-level results using inverse variance-weighted fixed-effects meta-analysis. In the second stage, we did in-silico lookups of 1372 single nucleotide polymorphisms identified from the first stage GWAS in 20 941 cases and 364 736 unique stroke-free controls. The ischaemic stroke subtypes of these cases had previously been established with the Trial of Org 10 172 in Acute Stroke Treatment (TOAST) classification system, in accordance with local standards. Results from the two stages were then jointly analysed in a final meta-analysis. FINDINGS: We identified a novel locus (G allele at rs12122341) at 1p13.2 near TSPAN2 that was associated with large artery atherosclerosis-related stroke (first stage odds ratio [OR] 1·21, 95% CI 1·13-1·30, p=4·50 × 10-8; joint OR 1·19, 1·12-1·26, p=1·30 × 10-9). Our results also supported robust associations with ischaemic stroke for four other loci that have been reported in previous studies, including PITX2 (first stage OR 1·39, 1·29-1·49, p=3·26 × 10-19; joint OR 1·37, 1·30-1·45, p=2·79 × 10-32) and ZFHX3 (first stage OR 1·19, 1·11-1·27, p=2·93 × 10-7; joint OR 1·17, 1·11-1·23, p=2·29 × 10-10) for cardioembolic stroke, and HDAC9 (first stage OR 1·29, 1·18-1·42, p=3·50 × 10-8; joint OR 1·24, 1·15-1·33, p=4·52 × 10-9) for large artery atherosclerosis stroke. The 12q24 locus near ALDH2, which has previously been associated with all ischaemic stroke but not with any specific subtype, exceeded genome-wide significance in the meta-analysis of small artery stroke (first stage OR 1·20, 1·12-1·28, p=6·82 × 10-8; joint OR 1·17, 1·11-1·23, p=2·92 × 10-9). Other loci associated with stroke in previous studies, including NINJ2, were not confirmed. INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that all ischaemic stroke-related loci previously implicated by GWAS are subtype specific. We identified a novel gene associated with large artery atherosclerosis stroke susceptibility. Follow-up studies will be necessary to establish whether the locus near TSPAN2 can be a target for a novel therapeutic approach to stroke prevention. In view of the subtype-specificity of the associations detected, the rich phenotyping data available in the Stroke Genetics Network (SiGN) are likely to be crucial for further genetic discoveries related to ischaemic stroke. FUNDING: US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health.

  • Evaluation and stages of surgical innovations.

    27 April 2018

    Surgical innovation is an important part of surgical practice. Its assessment is complex because of idiosyncrasies related to surgical practice, but necessary so that introduction and adoption of surgical innovations can derive from evidence-based principles rather than trial and error. A regulatory framework is also desirable to protect patients against the potential harms of any novel procedure. In this first of three Series papers on surgical innovation and evaluation, we propose a five-stage paradigm to describe the development of innovative surgical procedures.

  • Challenges in evaluating surgical innovation.

    23 May 2018

    Research on surgical interventions is associated with several methodological and practical challenges of which few, if any, apply only to surgery. However, surgical evaluation is especially demanding because many of these challenges coincide. In this report, the second of three on surgical innovation and evaluation, we discuss obstacles related to the study design of randomised controlled trials and non-randomised studies assessing surgical interventions. We also describe the issues related to the nature of surgical procedures-for example, their complexity, surgeon-related factors, and the range of outcomes. Although difficult, surgical evaluation is achievable and necessary. Solutions tailored to surgical research and a framework for generating evidence on which to base surgical practice are essential.

  • Early time course of major bleeding on antiplatelet therapy after TIA or ischemic stroke.

    12 March 2018

    OBJECTIVE: To study the early time course of major bleeding and its subtypes in patients with cerebral ischemia on dual and single antiplatelet therapy. METHODS: We performed a post hoc analysis on individual patient data from 6 randomized clinical trials (Clopidogrel Versus Aspirin in Patients at Risk of Ischaemic Events [CAPRIE], Second European Stroke Prevention Study [ESPS-2], Management of Atherothrombosis With Clopidogrel in High-Risk Patients [MATCH], Clopidogrel for High Atherothrombotic Risk and Ischemic Stabilization, Management, and Avoidance [CHARISMA], European/Australasian Stroke Prevention in Reversible Ischaemia Trial [ESPRIT], and Prevention Regimen for Effectively Avoiding Second Strokes [PRoFESS]) including 45,195 patients with a TIA or noncardioembolic ischemic stroke. We studied incidence rates of bleeding per antiplatelet regimen stratified by time from randomization (≤30, 31-90, 91-180, 181-365, >365 days). We calculated incidence rates per trial and pooled estimates with random-effects meta-analysis. We performed Poisson regression to assess differences between time periods with adjustment for age and sex. RESULTS: The incidence of major bleeding on aspirin plus clopidogrel and aspirin plus -dipyridamole was highest in the first 30 days, 5.8 and 4.9 per 100 person-years, respectively, and was significantly higher than at 31 to 90 days (rate ratio 1.98, 95% confidence interval 1.16-3.40 for aspirin plus clopidogrel; rate ratio 1.94, 95% confidence interval 1.24-3.03 for aspirin plus dipyridamole). Incidence rates on aspirin and clopidogrel monotherapy were 2.8 and 2.5 per 100 person-years, respectively, in the first 30 days, with no significant change over time. The time course was similar for gastrointestinal bleeds. There was no early excess of intracranial hemorrhage in patients on either dual or single antiplatelet therapy. CONCLUSION: Dual antiplatelet therapy is associated with high early risks of major and gastrointestinal bleeding that decline after the first month in trial cohorts.

  • Blood pressure variability and risk of cardiovascular events and death in patients with hypertension and different baseline risks.

    26 April 2018

    Aims: Blood pressure variability is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, particularly in high-risk patients. We assessed if variability was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events and death in hypertensive patients at different risk levels. Methods and results: The Valsartan Antihypertensive Long-term Use Evaluation trial was a randomized controlled trial of valsartan vs. amlodipine in patients with hypertension and different risks of cardiovascular events, followed for a mean of 4.2 years. We calculated standard deviation (SD) of mean systolic blood pressure from visits from 6 months onward in patients with ≥3 visits and no events during the first 6 months. We compared the risk of cardiovascular events in the highest and lowest quintile of visit-to-visit blood pressure variability, using Cox regression. For analysis of death, variability was analysed as a continuous variable. Of 13 803 patients included, 1557 (11.3%) had a cardiovascular event and 1089 (7.9%) died. Patients in the highest quintile of SD had an increased risk of cardiovascular events [hazard ratio (HR) 2.1, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.7-2.4; P < 0.0001], and a 5 mmHg increase in SD of systolic blood pressure was associated with a 10% increase in the risk of death (HR 1.10, 95% CI 1.04-1.17; P = 0.002). Associations were stronger among younger patients and patients with lower systolic blood pressure, and similar between patients with different baseline risks, except for higher risk of death among patients with established cardiovascular disease. Conclusion: Higher visit-to-visit systolic blood pressure variability is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events in patients with hypertension, irrespective of baseline risk of cardiovascular events. Associations were stronger in younger patients and in those with lower mean systolic blood pressure.