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Advances and challenges in treatment and prevention of ischemic stroke

Authors

  • Aaron W. Grossman MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Neurology, University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, Cincinnati, OH
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  • Joseph P. Broderick MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology, University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, Cincinnati, OH
    • Address correspondence to Dr Broderick, Department of Neurology, 260 Stetson Street, Suite 2300, Cincinnati, OH 45267. E-mail: broderjp@ucmail.uc.edu

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Abstract

We review recent advances in the treatment and prevention of acute ischemic stroke, including the current state of endovascular therapy, in light of 5 randomized controlled trials published this past year. Although no benefit of endovascular therapy over intravenous (IV) recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) has been demonstrated, endovascular therapy is an appropriate treatment for acute ischemic stroke patients within the t-PA window who are ineligible for IV t-PA but have a large vascular occlusion. These trials reveal promises and current limitations of endovascular therapy, and comparison of reperfusion therapies remains an important area of research. One common theme is the strong association between a faster time to reperfusion, improved outcome, and reduced mortality. Primary and secondary stroke prevention trials emphasize the importance of aggressive management of medical risk factors as part of any preventative strategy. New oral anticoagulants, for example, offer cost-effective risk reduction in patients with atrial fibrillation, and may represent an opportunity for those with cryptogenic stroke. We highlight areas of unmet need and promising research in stroke, including the need to deliver proven therapies to more patients, and the need to recruit patients into clinical trials that better define the role of endovascular and other stroke therapies. Finally, improvement in strategies to recover speech, cognition, and motor function has the potential to benefit far more stroke patients than any acute stroke therapy, and represents the greatest opportunity for research in the coming century. Ann Neurol 2013;74:363–372

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