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Stroke survivors without early complications at long-term risk of death, stroke

Jul 24, 2017

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Rick SwartzJodi Edwards

People who survive a stroke or a mini-stroke without early complications have an increased risk of death, another stroke or heart attack (myocardial infarction) for at least 5 years following the initial stroke, found a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"There is a real need to maintain risk reduction strategies, medical support and healthy lifestyle choices over the long-term, even years after a mild initial event," said senior author Dr. Richard Swartz, a neurologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Many studies show an elevated risk over time, although most have included patients with complications in the early 90-day high-risk period and not survivors without complications in the period following stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

A TIA is a mini-stroke which usually resolves quickly but indicates that a patient is at high-risk of a full stroke. The risk of stroke after TIA is highest in the first 90 days, but this study shows that there continues to be an increased risk even after years of stability.

"These analyses indicate that survival after both stroke and TIA is a marker of long-term risk, which merits aggressive attention to risk reduction strategies," write the authors.

» Read more in the full news release on CMAJ.ca