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Keywords:

  • acute ischemic stroke;
  • aortic stiffness;
  • brain natriuretic peptide;
  • transthoracic echocardiography

Background

The study aimed to evaluate the prognostic role and discriminative power of aortic stiffness and plasma brain natriuretic peptide levels in a cohort of patients hospitalized for acute ischemic stroke.

Methods and Results

Three hundred and ten consecutive patients aged 50 years and older with a first episode of acute ischemic stroke were prospectively evaluated. All patients were admitted to the hospital within 24 h of the onset of stroke symptoms. The type of acute ischemic stroke was classified according to the Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment classification. Blood samples were taken for measurement of brain natriuretic peptide levels at admission. Aortic stiffness indices, aortic strain and distensibility, were calculated from the aortic diameters measured by transthoracic echocardiography. The patients were followed for one-year or until death, whichever came first. Death occurred in 51 (16·5%) patients. On multivariate logistic regression analysis, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score >13, diabetes, brain natriuretic peptide >235 pg/mL, aortic distensibility, and aortic strain were associated with all-cause mortality. The optimal cutoff level of brain natriuretic peptide to distinguish the deceased group from the survival group was 235 pg/mL (sensitivity 71·0% and specificity 63·0%) and to distinguish cardioembolic stroke from noncardioembolic stroke was 155 pg/mL (sensitivity 81% and specificity 63%).

Conclusions

Aortic stiffness and brain natriuretic peptide predict mortality in patients with first-ever acute ischemic stroke. Brain natriuretic peptide also differentiates cardioembolic stroke from noncardioembolic stroke.