Anticoagulants for acute ischaemic stroke
ABSTRACT Most ischaemic strokes are caused by blood clots blocking an artery in the brain. Clot prevention with anticoagulants might improve outcome if bleeding risks were low. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 1995, and previously updated in 2004.
To assess the effect of anticoagulant therapy versus control in the early treatment (less than 14 days) of patients with acute ischaemic stroke.
We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register (last searched 2 October 2007), and two Internet clinical trials registries for relevant ongoing studies (last searched October 2007).
Randomised trials comparing early anticoagulant therapy (started within two weeks of stroke onset) with control in patients with acute presumed or confirmed ischaemic stroke.
Two review authors independently selected trials for inclusion, assessed trial quality, and extracted the data.
Twenty-four trials involving 23,748 participants were included. The quality of the trials varied considerably. The anticoagulants tested were standard unfractionated heparin, low-molecular-weight heparins, heparinoids, oral anticoagulants, and thrombin inhibitors. Based on 11 trials (22,776 participants) there was no evidence that anticoagulant therapy reduced the odds of death from all causes (odds ratio (OR) 1.05; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.98 to 1.12) at the end of follow up. Similarly, based on eight trials (22,125 participants), there was no evidence that anticoagulants reduced the odds of being dead or dependent at the end of follow up (OR 0.99; 95% CI 0.93 to 1.04). Although anticoagulant therapy was associated with fewer recurrent ischaemic strokes (OR 0.76; 95% CI 0.65 to 0.88), it was also associated with an increase in symptomatic intracranial haemorrhages (OR 2.55; 95% CI 1.95 to 3.33). Similarly, anticoagulants reduced the frequency of pulmonary emboli (OR 0.60; 95% CI 0.44 to 0.81), but this benefit was offset by an increase in extracranial haemorrhages (OR 2.99; 95% CI 2.24 to 3.99).
Since the last version of the review, neither of the two new relevant studies have provided additional information to change the conclusions. In patients with acute ischaemic stroke, immediate anticoagulant therapy is not associated with net short or long-term benefit. Treatment with anticoagulants reduced recurrent stroke, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, but increased bleeding risk. The data do not support the routine use of any the currently available anticoagulants in acute ischaemic stroke.
Article: Evidence-based practice for stroke.The Lancet Neurology 05/2009; 8(4):308-9. DOI:10.1016/S1474-4422(09)70060-2 · 21.82 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism are common after stroke. In small trials of patients undergoing surgery, graduated compression stockings (GCS) reduce the risk of DVT. National stroke guidelines extrapolating from these trials recommend their use in patients with stroke despite insufficient evidence. We assessed the effectiveness of thigh-length GCS to reduce DVT after stroke. In this outcome-blinded, randomised controlled trial, 2518 patients who were admitted to hospital within 1 week of an acute stroke and who were immobile were enrolled from 64 centres in the UK, Italy, and Australia. Patients were allocated via a central randomisation system to routine care plus thigh-length GCS (n=1256) or to routine care plus avoidance of GCS (n=1262). A technician who was blinded to treatment allocation undertook compression Doppler ultrasound of both legs at about 7-10 days and, when practical, again at 25-30 days after enrolment. The primary outcome was the occurrence of symptomatic or asymptomatic DVT in the popliteal or femoral veins. Analyses were by intention to treat. This study is registered, number ISRCTN28163533. All patients were included in the analyses. The primary outcome occurred in 126 (10.0%) patients allocated to thigh-length GCS and in 133 (10.5%) allocated to avoid GCS, resulting in a non-significant absolute reduction in risk of 0.5% (95% CI -1.9% to 2.9%). Skin breaks, ulcers, blisters, and skin necrosis were significantly more common in patients allocated to GCS than in those allocated to avoid their use (64 [5%] vs 16 [1%]; odds ratio 4.18, 95% CI 2.40-7.27). These data do not lend support to the use of thigh-length GCS in patients admitted to hospital with acute stroke. National guidelines for stroke might need to be revised on the basis of these results. Medical Research Council (UK), Chief Scientist Office of Scottish Government, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, Tyco Healthcare (Covidien) USA, and UK Stroke Research Network.The Lancet 07/2009; 373(9679):1958-65. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60941-7 · 45.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The statistics for stroke in the USA reads like a familiar ad slogan cited in most papers pertaining to acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the USA. While stroke ranks third among all causes of death, behind diseases of the heart and cancer, it is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the USA.(1) Approximately 795 000 people, 87% of whom are ischemic, suffer from stroke each year in the USA.(2) That means that on average, every 40 seconds someone within the USA develops a stroke. For 2009 the combined direct and indirect cost of stroke, from hospitalization and rehabilitation to institutionalization, is estimated at $68.9 billion within the USA.(2).Journal of Neurointerventional Surgery 07/2009; 1(1):13-26. DOI:10.1136/jnis.2009.000117 · 1.38 Impact Factor