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Major Stroke Risk Substantial After Minor Event: Study
Date:11/12/2007

U.K. researchers find 1 in 20 TIA patients face major attack within a week

MONDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who've suffered a minor stroke -- called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA -- have a substantial risk of suffering a major stroke within seven days.

But that risk of a second, bigger stroke is lowest among TIA patients treated as emergency cases in specialist stroke units, says a new British review of previous studies that included a total of 10,126 patients.

The researchers concluded that there's a 5.2 percent risk of a major stroke within seven days of a TIA, meaning that about 1 in 20 TIA patients will have a major stroke within a week. But the risk among TIA patients who received emergency care in specialist stroke units ranged from 0 percent to 9 percent, while the highest risk -- 11 percent -- was for patients who didn't receive emergency care.

The findings were published online Nov. 11 in The Lancet Neurology, and will appear in the December print issue of the journal.

"The risk of stroke reported amongst patients treated urgently in specialist units was substantially lower than risks reported among other patients treated in alternative settings. These results support the argument that a TIA is a medical emergency and that urgent treatment in specialist units may reduce the risk of subsequent stroke," said the study authors, from Oxford University's Stroke Prevention Research Unit.

Studies of major stroke risk after TIA have produced conflicting findings, with seven-day stroke risk ranging from 0 percent to 12.8 percent. The inconsistent findings among the previous studies that were included in the new review could be explained by differences in study method, setting and treatment, the review authors said.

"Our study almost fully explains why the results of previous studies have been conflicting and illustrates the importance of methods used by a medical study
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