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Neurology. 1997 Apr;48(4):891-5.

Stroke recurrence: predictors, severity, and prognosis. The Copenhagen Stroke Study.

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Department of Neurology, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.


We compared stroke severity, risk factors, and prognosis in patients with recurrent versus first-ever stroke. In the Copenhagen Stroke Study, we prospectively studied 1,138 unselected patients with acute stroke. Stroke was recurrent in 265 (23%) despite most of these patients being given prophylactic treatment prior to recurrence. Only 12% of patients with atrial fibrillation were receiving anticoagulant treatment prior to recurrence. In multivariate analysis, recurrence was more frequently associated with a history of TIA, atrial fibrillation, male gender, and hypertension, but not with age, daily alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, serum cholesterol, or hematocrit. Mortality was almost doubled compared with patients with a first-ever stroke. In survivors, however, both neurologic and functional outcomes and the speed of recovery were, in general, similar in the two groups. Despite similar neurologic impairments, patients with recurrence contralateral to their first stroke had markedly more severe functional disability after completed rehabilitation than patients with ipsilateral recurrence, implying that the ability to compensate functionally is decreased in patients with contralateral recurrence. Our findings emphasize the importance of consistent anticoagulant treatment for stroke patients with atrial fibrillation and close blood pressure control in stroke patients with hypertension. Other prophylactic measures are needed in patients in whom ASA fails to prevent recurrence. Patients with recurrent stroke have a markedly higher mortality than patients with a first-ever stroke, but those who survive recover as well and as fast as patients with a first-ever stroke. However, if recurrence is contralateral to the first stroke, functional recovery is poorer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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