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J Clin Neurol. 2015 Jan;11(1):57-65. doi: 10.3988/jcn.2015.11.1.57. Epub 2015 Jan 2.

Low-molecular-weight heparin or dual antiplatelet therapy is more effective than aspirin alone in preventing early neurological deterioration and improving the 6-month outcome in ischemic stroke patients.

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1
Department of Neurology, People's Hospital of Deyang City, Deyang, China.
2
Department of Neurology, Third Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Dual antiplatelet therapy (DAT) with clopidogrel and aspirin has been shown to confer greater protection against early neurological deterioration (END) and early recurrent ischemic stroke (ERIS) than aspirin alone in patients who have experienced an acute ischemic stroke. However, few studies have compared the effects of anticoagulation therapy with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH), DAT, and aspirin.

METHODS:

Patients with acute ischemic stroke (n=1,467) were randomized to therapy groups receiving aspirin (200 mg daily for 14 days, followed by 100 mg daily for 6 months), DAT (200 mg of aspirin and 75 mg of clopidogrel daily for 14 days, then 100 mg of aspirin daily for 6 months), or LMWH (4,000 antifactor Xa IU of enoxaparin in 0.4 mL subcutaneously twice daily for 14 days, followed by 100 mg of aspirin daily for 6 months). The effects of these treatment strategies on the incidence of END, ERIS, and deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) were observed for 10-14 days after treatment, and their impacts on a good outcome were evaluated at 6 months.

RESULTS:

The DAT and LMWH were associated with a more significant reduction of END and ERIS within 14 days compared with aspirin-alone therapy. In addition, LMWH was associated with a significantly lower incidence of DVT within 14 days. At 6 months, DAT or LMWH improved the outcome among patients aged >70 years and those with symptomatic stenosis in the posterior circulation or basilar artery compared with aspirin.

CONCLUSIONS:

LMWH or DAT may be more effective than aspirin alone for reducing the incidence of END and ERIS within 14 days, and is associated with improved outcomes in elderly patients and those with stenosis in the posterior circulation or basilar artery at 6 months poststroke.

KEYWORDS:

acute ischemic stroke; dual antiplatelet therapy; early neurological deterioration; low-molecular-weight heparin; outcomes

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