Diagnostic and treatment of acute ischemic stroke
The incidence of first stroke in Germany is about 200.000, most of which are ischemic. The benefit of stroke unit treatment and systemic thrombolysis has been shown in large randomized trials. Diagnostic work-up besides neurologic examination includes cerebral imaging by CT or MR imaging including angiography, ultrasound of brain supplying arteries, ECG and Holter ECG and - if indicated - transesophageal echocardiography. Aspirin is the cornerstone of early secondary prevention in the acute phase, thereafter secondary prevention is determined by stroke etiology. Carotid endarterectomy or stent-assisted angioplasty are indicated in patients with hemodynamic or arterio-arterial stroke etiologies due to high-grade carotid stenosis. For cardioembolism due to atrial fibrillation, oral anticoagulation with vitamin K-antagonists or new oral anticoagulants should be started after the acute phase. In patients with non-cardioembolic stroke etiologies, platelet inhibitors are used for secondary prevention.
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