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Concept: Transient ischemic attack

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Background Stroke is common during the first few weeks after a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor ischemic stroke. Combination therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin may provide greater protection against subsequent stroke than aspirin alone. Methods In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted at 114 centers in China, we randomly assigned 5170 patients within 24 hours after the onset of minor ischemic stroke or high-risk TIA to combination therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin (clopidogrel at an initial dose of 300 mg, followed by 75 mg per day for 90 days, plus aspirin at a dose of 75 mg per day for the first 21 days) or to placebo plus aspirin (75 mg per day for 90 days). All participants received open-label aspirin at a clinician-determined dose of 75 to 300 mg on day 1. The primary outcome was stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) during 90 days of follow-up in an intention-to-treat analysis. Treatment differences were assessed with the use of a Cox proportional-hazards model, with study center as a random effect. Results Stroke occurred in 8.2% of patients in the clopidogrel-aspirin group, as compared with 11.7% of those in the aspirin group (hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.57 to 0.81; P<0.001). Moderate or severe hemorrhage occurred in seven patients (0.3%) in the clopidogrel-aspirin group and in eight (0.3%) in the aspirin group (P=0.73); the rate of hemorrhagic stroke was 0.3% in each group. Conclusions Among patients with TIA or minor stroke who can be treated within 24 hours after the onset of symptoms, the combination of clopidogrel and aspirin is superior to aspirin alone for reducing the risk of stroke in the first 90 days and does not increase the risk of hemorrhage. (Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China; CHANCE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00979589 .).

Concepts: Blood, Stroke, Transient ischemic attack, People's Republic of China, Subarachnoid hemorrhage, Aspirin, Randomness, People's Republic

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BACKGROUND: The symptom of tongue deviation is observed in a stroke or transient ischemic attack. Nevertheless, there is much room for the interpretation of the tongue deviation test. The crucial factor is the lack of an effective quantification method of tongue deviation. If we can quantify the features of the tongue deviation and scientifically verify the relationship between the deviation angle and a stroke, the information provided by the tongue will be helpful in recognizing a warning of a stroke. METHODS: In this study, a quantification method of the tongue deviation angle was proposed for the first time to characterize stroke patients. We captured the tongue images of stroke patients (15 males and 10 females, ranging between 55 and 82 years of age); transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients (16 males and 9 females, ranging between 53 and 79 years of age); and normal subjects (14 males and 11 females, ranging between 52 and 80 years of age) to analyze whether the method is effective. In addition, we used the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) for the sensitivity analysis, and determined the threshold value of the tongue deviation angle for the warning sign of a stroke. RESULTS: The means and standard deviations of the tongue deviation angles of the stroke, TIA, and normal groups were: 6.9 [PLUS-MINUS SIGN] 3.1, 4.9 [PLUS-MINUS SIGN] 2.1 and 1.4 [PLUS-MINUS SIGN] 0.8 degrees, respectively. Analyzed by the unpaired Student’s t-test, the p-value between the stroke group and the TIA group was 0.015 (>0.01), indicating no significant difference in the tongue deviation angle. The p-values between the stroke group and the normal group, as well as between the TIA group and the normal group were both less than 0.01. These results show the significant differences in the tongue deviation angle between the patient groups (stroke and TIA patients) and the normal group. These results also imply that the tongue deviation angle can effectively identify the patient group (stroke and TIA patients) and the normal group. With respect to the visual examination, 40% and 32% of stroke patients, 24% and 16% of TIA patients, and 4% and 0% of normal subjects were found to have tongue deviations when physicians “A” and “B” examined them. The variation showed the essentiality of the quantification method in a clinical setting. In the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC), the Area Under Curve (AUC, = 0.96) indicates good discrimination. The tongue deviation angle more than the optimum threshold value (= 3.2[DEGREE SIGN]) predicts a risk of stroke. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, we developed an effective quantification method to characterize the tongue deviation angle, and we confirmed the feasibility of recognizing the tongue deviation angle as an early warning sign of an impending stroke.

Concepts: Stroke, Transient ischemic attack, Statistical significance, Student's t-test, Group theory, Normal distribution, Standard deviation, Receiver operating characteristic

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Background Patients with ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) are at increased risk for future cardiovascular events despite current preventive therapies. The identification of insulin resistance as a risk factor for stroke and myocardial infarction raised the possibility that pioglitazone, which improves insulin sensitivity, might benefit patients with cerebrovascular disease. Methods In this multicenter, double-blind trial, we randomly assigned 3876 patients who had had a recent ischemic stroke or TIA to receive either pioglitazone (target dose, 45 mg daily) or placebo. Eligible patients did not have diabetes but were found to have insulin resistance on the basis of a score of more than 3.0 on the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index. The primary outcome was fatal or nonfatal stroke or myocardial infarction. Results By 4.8 years, a primary outcome had occurred in 175 of 1939 patients (9.0%) in the pioglitazone group and in 228 of 1937 (11.8%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio in the pioglitazone group, 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62 to 0.93; P=0.007). Diabetes developed in 73 patients (3.8%) and 149 patients (7.7%), respectively (hazard ratio, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.69; P<0.001). There was no significant between-group difference in all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.73 to 1.17; P=0.52). Pioglitazone was associated with a greater frequency of weight gain exceeding 4.5 kg than was placebo (52.2% vs. 33.7%, P<0.001), edema (35.6% vs. 24.9%, P<0.001), and bone fracture requiring surgery or hospitalization (5.1% vs. 3.2%, P=0.003). Conclusions In this trial involving patients without diabetes who had insulin resistance along with a recent history of ischemic stroke or TIA, the risk of stroke or myocardial infarction was lower among patients who received pioglitazone than among those who received placebo. Pioglitazone was also associated with a lower risk of diabetes but with higher risks of weight gain, edema, and fracture. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00091949 .).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Insulin, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Stroke, Transient ischemic attack, Insulin resistance

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Background A finding of reduced aortic-valve leaflet motion was noted on computed tomography (CT) in a patient who had a stroke after transcatheter aortic-valve replacement (TAVR) during an ongoing clinical trial. This finding raised a concern about possible subclinical leaflet thrombosis and prompted further investigation. Methods We analyzed data obtained from 55 patients in a clinical trial of TAVR and from two single-center registries that included 132 patients who were undergoing either TAVR or surgical aortic-valve bioprosthesis implantation. We obtained four-dimensional, volume-rendered CT scans along with data on anticoagulation and clinical outcomes (including strokes and transient ischemic attacks [TIAs]). Results Reduced leaflet motion was noted on CT in 22 of 55 patients (40%) in the clinical trial and in 17 of 132 patients (13%) in the two registries. Reduced leaflet motion was detected among patients with multiple bioprosthesis types, including transcatheter and surgical bioprostheses. Therapeutic anticoagulation with warfarin, as compared with dual antiplatelet therapy, was associated with a decreased incidence of reduced leaflet motion (0% and 55%, respectively, P=0.01 in the clinical trial; and 0% and 29%, respectively, P=0.04 in the pooled registries). In patients who were reevaluated with follow-up CT, restoration of leaflet motion was noted in all 11 patients who were receiving anticoagulation and in 1 of 10 patients who were not receiving anticoagulation (P<0.001). There was no significant difference in the incidence of stroke or TIA between patients with reduced leaflet motion and those with normal leaflet motion in the clinical trial (2 of 22 patients and 0 of 33 patients, respectively; P=0.16), although in the pooled registries, a significant difference was detected (3 of 17 patients and 1 of 115 patients, respectively; P=0.007). Conclusions Reduced aortic-valve leaflet motion was shown in patients with bioprosthetic aortic valves. The condition resolved with therapeutic anticoagulation. The effect of this finding on clinical outcomes including stroke needs further investigation. (Funded by St. Jude Medical and Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute; Portico-IDE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02000115 ; SAVORY registry, NCT02426307 ; and RESOLVE registry, NCT02318342 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Transient ischemic attack, Thrombosis, ClinicalTrials.gov, Warfarin, Anticoagulant

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Background Previous clinical trials have suggested that carotid-artery stenting with a device to capture and remove emboli (“embolic protection”) is an effective alternative to carotid endarterectomy in patients at average or high risk for surgical complications. Methods In this trial, we compared carotid-artery stenting with embolic protection and carotid endarterectomy in patients 79 years of age or younger who had severe carotid stenosis and were asymptomatic (i.e., had not had a stroke, transient ischemic attack, or amaurosis fugax in the 180 days before enrollment) and were not considered to be at high risk for surgical complications. The trial was designed to enroll 1658 patients but was halted early, after 1453 patients underwent randomization, because of slow enrollment. Patients were followed for up to 5 years. The primary composite end point of death, stroke, or myocardial infarction within 30 days after the procedure or ipsilateral stroke within 1 year was tested at a noninferiority margin of 3 percentage points. Results Stenting was noninferior to endarterectomy with regard to the primary composite end point (event rate, 3.8% and 3.4%, respectively; P=0.01 for noninferiority). The rate of stroke or death within 30 days was 2.9% in the stenting group and 1.7% in the endarterectomy group (P=0.33). From 30 days to 5 years after the procedure, the rate of freedom from ipsilateral stroke was 97.8% in the stenting group and 97.3% in the endarterectomy group (P=0.51), and the overall survival rates were 87.1% and 89.4%, respectively (P=0.21). The cumulative 5-year rate of stroke-free survival was 93.1% in the stenting group and 94.7% in the endarterectomy group (P=0.44). Conclusions In this trial involving asymptomatic patients with severe carotid stenosis who were not at high risk for surgical complications, stenting was noninferior to endarterectomy with regard to the rate of the primary composite end point at 1 year. In analyses that included up to 5 years of follow-up, there were no significant differences between the study groups in the rates of non-procedure-related stroke, all stroke, and survival. (Funded by Abbott Vascular; ACT I ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00106938 .).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Stroke, Transient ischemic attack, Ischemia, Embolism, Carotid endarterectomy, Amaurosis fugax

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Oral infectious diseases are epidemiologically associated with stroke. We previously showed that oral Streptococcus mutans with the cnm gene encoding a collagen-binding Cnm protein induced intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) experimentally and was also associated with cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) in our population-based cohort study. We therefore investigated the roles of cnm-positive Streptococcus mutans in this single hospital-based, observational study that enrolled 100 acute stroke subjects. The cnm gene in Streptococcus mutans isolated from saliva was screened using PCR techniques and its collagen-binding activities examined. CMBs were evaluated on T2* gradient-recalled echo MRI. One subject withdrew informed consent and 99 subjects (63 males) were analyzed, consisting of 67 subjects with ischemic stroke, 5 with transient ischemic attack, and 27 with ICH. Eleven cases showed Streptococcus mutans strains positive for cnm. The presence of cnm-positive Streptococcus mutans was significantly associated with ICH [OR vs. ischemic stroke, 4.5; 95% CI, 1.17-19.1] and increased number of deep CMBs [median (IQR), 3 (2-9) vs. 0 (0-1), p = 0.0002]. In subjects positive for Streptococcus mutans, collagen binding activity was positively correlated with the number of deep CMBs (R(2) = 0.405; p < 0.0001). These results provide further evidence for the key role of oral health in stroke.

Concepts: Cohort study, Experimental design, Infectious disease, Informed consent, Stroke, Transient ischemic attack, Cerebral hemorrhage, Streptococcus mutans

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Diagnosing atrial fibrillation (AF) before ischemic stroke occurs is a priority for stroke prevention in AF. Smartphone camera-based photoplethysmographic (PPG) pulse waveform measurement discriminates between different heart rhythms, but its ability to diagnose AF in real-world situations has not been adequately investigated. We sought to assess the diagnostic performance of a standalone smartphone PPG application, Cardiio Rhythm, for AF screening in primary care setting.

Concepts: Diagnosis, Heart, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Transient ischemic attack, Greek loanwords, Rhythm, Atrial flutter

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The aim of this statement is to summarize data on stroke risk factors that are unique to and more common in women than men and to expand on the data provided in prior stroke guidelines and cardiovascular prevention guidelines for women. This guideline focuses on the risk factors unique to women, such as reproductive factors, and those that are more common in women, including migraine with aura, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and atrial fibrillation.

Concepts: Nutrition, Heart, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Transient ischemic attack, Migraine, Circulatory system, Aura

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Platelet collagen receptor glycoprotein VI (pGPVI) is elevated in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and ischemic stroke. Recently, we developed a novel bead-based sandwich immunoassay to determine soluble GPVI (sGPVI), which has been validated in ACS patients. This study aimed to evaluate the plasma levels of sGPVI and pGPVI expression in patients with suspected stroke. We consecutively evaluated 176 patients, who were admitted to the stroke unit. Surface expression of pGPVI was determined by flow cytometry, sGPVI concentrations were determined using our sandwich immunoassay. Unlike patients with TIA, patients with stroke showed significantly decreased plasma levels of sGPVI compared to patients with non-ischemic (NI) events (TIA: mean [µg/L] ± standard deviation): 6.1 ± 2.1 vs. NI: 8 ± 4; p = 0.192; stroke: 5.9 ± 2.3 vs. NI; p = 0.013), whereas for pGPVI, patients with TIA and ischemic stroke revealed a significantly increased platelet surface expression compared to NI patients (TIA: mean fluorescence intensity [MFI] ± standard deviation): 20.9 ± 5.4 vs. NI: 17.6 ± 5.2; p = 0.021; stroke: 20.3 ± 6.2 vs. NI; p = 0.016). Using logistic regression analysis, both sGPVI (p = 0.002) and pGPVI (p = 0.012) are independently associated with ischemic stroke compared to other laboratory markers. To predict the individual risk for ischemic stroke using the plasma levels of sGPVI, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis determined an optimal cutoff value of sGPVI at 6.5 µg/l, thus, patients with decreased plasma levels (<6.5 µg/l) have a 1.5-fold adjusted odds ratio (95%confidence interval, 1.4-2.7). Lower plasma levels of sGPVI are associated with the slightly elevated risk of stroke and may be a promising novel biomarker.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Statistics, Stroke, Transient ischemic attack, Standard deviation, Receiver operating characteristic, GPVI

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BACKGROUND: Stroke in patients with acute cervical artery dissection may be anticipated by initial transient ischemic or nonischemic symptoms. AIM: Identifying risk factors for delayed stroke upon cervical artery dissection. METHODS: Cervical artery dissection patients from the multicenter Cervical Artery Dissection and Ischemic Stroke Patients study were classified as patients without stroke (n = 339), with stroke preceded by nonstroke symptoms (delayed stroke, n = 244), and with stroke at onset (n = 382). Demographics, clinical, and vascular findings were compared between the three groups. RESULTS: Patients with delayed stroke were more likely to present with occlusive cervical artery dissection (P < 0·001), multiple cervical artery dissection (P = 0·031), and vertebral artery dissection (P < 0·001) than patients without stroke. No differences were observed in age, smoking, arterial hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, migraine, body mass index, infections during the last week, and trauma during the last month, but patients with delayed stroke had less often transient ischemic attack (P < 0·001) and local signs (Horner syndrome and cranial nerve palsy; P < 0·001). CONCLUSIONS: Occlusive cervical artery dissection, multiple cervical artery dissection, and vertebral artery dissection were associated with an increased risk for delayed stroke. No other risk factors for delayed stroke were identified. Immediate cervical imaging of cervical artery dissection patients without ischemic stroke is needed to identify patients at increased risk for delayed ischemia.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Coronary artery disease, Stroke, Transient ischemic attack, Blood pressure, Vertebral artery dissection, Hypercholesterolemia