From Our 2007 Archives
Ministroke: Quick Care Pays Off
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Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Stroke Deserve Immediate Care, Experts Say
By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Oct. 8, 2007 -- When a "ministroke" strikes, immediate medical care may help prevent a bigger stroke.
That's the take-home message from two new studies published in tomorrow's edition of The Lancet.
A quick review: Stroke can be caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).
Stroke symptoms can include:
Seek emergency medical care at the first sign of those symptoms. The stakes are too high not to take action, even if the symptoms disappear quickly.
British Stroke Study
The two new stroke studies show benefits from quick care for stroke or minor stroke.
One of the two new stroke studies comes from Oxford, England.
At the study's start, TIA or minor stroke patients needed a doctor's referral to go to a special stroke clinic. Later, the referral requirement was waived.
When patients didn't need a referral, they came to the clinic sooner.
As a result, those patients were 80% less likely to have a stroke within three months of their TIA or minor stroke, compared with those treated when the referrals were required.
French Stroke Study
The second study comes from Paris, where stroke experts set up a 24-hour TIA clinic and publicized the clinic with local doctors.
Some 700 patients with confirmed TIA or minor stroke came to the clinic within 24 hours of the start of their symptoms.
As a result, they were less likely to have a stroke in the next three months, according to Philippa Lavallee, MD, and colleagues.
Lavallee works for the Department of Neurology and Stroke Centre at the Denis Diderot University and Medical School in Paris.
TIAs and minor strokes warrant urgent care, write editorialists in The Lancet.
"Rapid assessment and intervention is emerging as the new standard for TIA care," write the editorialists, who included Water Kernan, MD, of Yale University's medical school.
SOURCES: Rothwell, P. The Lancet, Oct. 9, 2007; advance online edition. Lavallee, P. The Lancet, Oct. 9, 2007; advance online edition. Kernan, W. The Lancet, Oct. 9, 2007; advance online edition. Dean, N. The Lancet, Oct. 9, 2007; advance online edition. News release, The Lancet.
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