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Neurol Sci. 2013 Jul;34(7):1083-6. doi: 10.1007/s10072-012-1205-8. Epub 2012 Nov 4.

A practical definition of minor stroke.

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Neurological Department, General Hospital, Ospedale di Vimercate, Vimercate (Mi) Via Ss Cosma e Damiano 10, 20059 Vimercate, Italy.


It is generally assumed that minor stroke (MS) is an ischemic stroke with a short-term, good functional outcome. However, no clear definition of MS exists. Modified Rankin Scale (mRS) and National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) are still the most accredited standards, but scores and timing of the assessment are not homogeneous. As suggested by a qualified sample of Italian neurologists, the index parameter chosen in our analysis was mRS at the time of hospital discharge. The database of the SIRIO study (a large observational study of 2,573 patients with stroke admitted in Italian hospitals in 2005) was used to identify an mRS threshold to define MS. Reference was made to outcome markers such as rate of discharge to home, 1-year disability and 1-year mortality. The rate of discharge progressively decreased with increase in mRS, while the rates of 1-year mortality and disability progressively increased. Our proposal is one of defining a stroke "minor" when the rate of discharge to home is above the SIRIO database overall value and the 1-year mortality and disability is below the respective overall values. This definition is consistent with a score ≤2 on the mRS.

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