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Thromb Haemost. 1999 Aug;82(2):938-46.

Antithrombotic treatments in acute ischemic stroke.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.


A therapeutic role for antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants within 6 hours of the onset of ischemic stroke symptoms has not been tested. With one exception, their use in early stroke (< 48 hours) did not produce a favorable outcome. The use of rt-PA in appropriate patients presenting with ischemic stroke within 3 hours of symptom onset has been accompanied by significant benefit, which has exceeded the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage in one trial. The recent group of clinical studies has provided evidence for factors which may contribute to hemorrhagic transformation. These studies also demonstrate the following: i) recanalization of carotid and vertebrobasilar artery territory occlusions is technically feasible within 3 to 6 hours of symptom onset, ii) the frequency of hemorrhage is increased in ischemic stroke patients receiving PAs, iii) the interval from symptom onset to treatment to achieve clinical improvement varies individually and contributes to hemorrhagic risk, and iv) the optimal PAs, their dose-rate, and delivery systems have not yet been defined in either the carotid or vertebrobasilar territory. Taken together, the NINDS trial, ECASS, and ECASS II indicate the enormous importance of patient selection to reduce the hemorrhagic risk which accompanies the use of PAs in stroke. However, it is currently not possible to separate benefit from hemorrhagic risk in a given patient based upon simple clinical criteria, although contributors to this risk have been identified. Clearly, attempts to reduce the risk of hemorrhage should contribute to the overall benefit of selected ischemic stroke patients treated with rt-PA and with other PAs. This experience may also provide a clinical basis for the prospective study of antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants in acute ischemic stroke.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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