Heed ‘Warning Stroke’ Symptoms

Heed ‘Warning Stroke’ Symptoms

Reported October 01, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — One out of every eight strokes is preceded by a “warning stroke” — a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mild stroke, according to a new study. During a TIA, stroke symptoms last for less than 24 hours and then resolve. People should not ignore these symptoms, but seek immediate treatment to help prevent a major stroke.

“These results illustrate the need for better risk assessment tools for preventing strokes before they occur,” study author Daniel G. Hackam, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Western Ontario in London, ON, is quoted as saying. “Other studies have shown that up to 80 percent of strokes after TIA can be prevented when risk factors are managed intensively.”

Over a period of four years, researchers identified all people at Ontario hospitals with a diagnosis of stroke. Of the 16,400 patients studied, 2,032, or 12.4 percent, had a TIA prior to the stroke.



Those who did not have a warning stroke were more likely to have a more serious stroke than those who did have the warning stroke. Those with no warning were more likely to die while at the hospital, more likely to have cardiac arrest while in the hospital and less likely to be able to go home after the hospital stay rather than to a nursing home or rehabilitation center.

Those with the warning stroke tended to be older than those without warning strokes, and they were also more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems.

“It’s possible that the blood vessels of those with warning strokes were preconditioned to the lack of blood flow, which protected them from the full result of the larger stroke,” said Hackam. “Any person who experiences even a minor stroke should get to the emergency room immediately.”

SOURCE: Neurology®, September 29, 2009