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CMAJ. 1991 Sep 1;145(5):433-43.

Mechanisms and management of stroke in the elderly.

Author information

1
Clinical Investigative Stroke Unit, Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To highlight the mechanisms, common causes and management of stroke in the elderly.

DATA SOURCES:

MEDLINE was searched for articles published from 1967 to 1990. The following key words were used: "stroke," "cerebrovascular disease," "elderly," "aging," "hypertension," "drug interactions," "etiology," "evaluation," "management" and "recovery of function." Original articles with large series of patients were reviewed in detail.

STUDY SELECTION:

Of about 750 original articles reviewed 116 were finally selected for detailed analysis. Those that dealt with cause, pathophysiologic features and management of stroke with emphasis on the elderly were chosen.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

With increasing age the incidence of stroke increases, cardiovascular reserve decreases, catecholamine responsiveness diminishes and cardiac arrhythmias become more common. Blood pressure, especially systolic, rises, and the benefits of its treatment become both more difficult to assess and less certain. In the elderly population embolic stroke, particularly that due to nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, is seen with increasing frequency. Because of postural hypotension, cardiac arrhythmias and overmedication, watershed infarction occurs more frequently with increasing age. Amyloid angiopathy now represents the most common cause of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage.

CONCLUSIONS:

Because of the altered drug metabolism and pharmacodynamics in the elderly the therapeutic armamentarium is growing, and so are the risks of such treatments. Stroke in the elderly poses unique problems that deserve distinctive solutions. Further research is needed to study the effect of cerebral ischemia to understand better how the older brain handles the stress of the ischemic insult.

PMID:
1878825
PMCID:
PMC1335826
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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