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Speedy 'Mini-Stroke' Care Pays Off
Date:10/9/2007

It cut odds of a later, major stroke by 80%, researchers say

TUESDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Quick assessment and treatment of people who've suffered a minor stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA, or "mini-stroke") cuts their risk of having a major stroke by 80 percent, two new studies find.

A TIA causes symptoms similar to a stroke but, unlike a stroke, the symptoms tend to disappear within several hours.

The first study, by British researchers at the University of Oxford, looked at two groups of patients. In the first group, the median time to assessment in clinic after a minor stroke or TIA was three days, and the median time to first prescription of treatment was 20 days. In the second group, both assessment and prescription took just one day.

The 90-day risk of subsequent major stroke was more than 10 percent (32 out of 310 patients) in the first group, compared with only about 2 percent (6 of 281 patients) in the second group. That risk reduction was independent of age and sex, and early treatment didn't boost patients' risk of bleeding or other complications, according to the study, which was reported online Oct. 9 in the journal The Lancet.

"Our data indicate that urgent assessment and early initiation of a combination of existing preventative treatments can reduce the risk of recurrent stroke after TIA or minor stroke by about 80 percent," the team wrote. "Extrapolated across the U.K. population, this equates to the prevention of nearly 10,000 strokes per year," they said.

"Follow-up treatment is required to determine long-term outcome, but these results have immediate implications for the service provision and public education about TIA and minor stroke," the investigators concluded.

These findings "are very important and should promote renewed attention to urgent care of patients with TIAs and minor strokes," Dr. Naeem Dean of the Royal Alexandra Hospital in E
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