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Patent foramen ovale (PFO) is present in 40% of patients with cryptogenic stroke and may be associated with paradoxical emboli to the brain. Therapeutic options include antiplatelet agents, anticoagulation, percutaneous device and surgical closure. We assessed the hypothesis that there are differences in rates of recurrent TIA or stroke between patients in the four treatment groups.
Patients presenting from January 1997 with cryptogenic stroke or TIA and PFO were followed prospectively until June 2003. Treatment choice was made on an individual case basis. The primary outcome was recurrent stroke. The secondary outcome was a composite of stroke, TIA, and vascular death.
Baseline. Our cohort consisted of 121 patients; 64 (53%) were men. Median age was 43 years. Sixty-nine percent presented with stroke and 31% with TIA. One or more vascular risk factor was present in 40%. Atrial septal aneurysm (ASA) was present in 24%. Treatment consisted of antiplatelet agents (34%), anticoagulation (17%), device (39%) and surgical closure (11%). Follow-up. Recurrent events occurred in 16 patients (9 antiplatelet, 3 anticoagulation, 4 device closure); 7 were strokes, 9 were TIA. Comparing individual treatments there was a trend toward more strokes in the antiplatelet arm (p=0.072); a significant difference was seen for the composite endpoint (p=0.012). Comparing closure versus combined medical therapy groups, a significant difference was seen for primary (p=0.014) and secondary (p=0.008) outcomes, favoring closure. Age and pre-study event predicted outcome.
Patent foramen ovale closure was associated with fewer recurrent events. Complications of surgical and device closure were self-limited.
Over the past four years, West Nile virus (WNV) has become a significant health issue in North America. In 2002, WNV infection made its first appearance in the human population in Canada.
Patients who presented to the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto with neurological disease attributed to WNV infection were identified and followed by the neurology service. Clinical features and results of laboratory, electrodiagnostic, radiological and pathological studies are presented.
In August and September 2002, 26 patients were admitted with WNV infection; 14 presented with neurological illness. Encephalitis was the most common presentation (11 patients). Eleven patients developed neuromuscular disease; two at presentation and nine after encephalitis. While the majority had a motor process that localized to the anterior horn cell and/or motor neuron, two patients had evidence of a demyelinating neuropathy and one a sensorimotor axonal neuropathy. Less common manifestations included rhombencephalitis, ataxia, myelopathy and parkinsonism. Death occurred in four patients; two > 75 years of age, and two who were immunocompromised.
The most common neurological manifestation of WNV infection was encephalitis with subsequent neuromuscular involvement. The diversity of clinical and pathological findings, however, suggests widespread involvement of the central and peripheral nervous system. A poorer prognosis for neurological recovery and overall survival was seen in older and immunocompromised patients.
Fabry’s disease is an X-linked disorder, caused by a deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme α-galactosidase A which results in the accumulation of the glycosphingolipid, ceramide trihexose in the vascular endothelium and can lead to cerebral infarction. Male hemizygotes are generally more severely affected than heterozygote females. Clinical disease in females is thought to be due to unequal X chromosome inactivation.
A 19-year-old woman, who was previously well, presented with neurological deficits secondary to basal ganglia and pontine infarction. Extensive cardiac, arterial and hematologic investigations did not identify the etiology of her stroke. Muscle biopsy revealed endothelial lysosomal aggregates most consistent with a diagnosis of Fabry’s disease. The diagnosis was confirmed on the basis of molecular genotype analysis.
Inherited causes of stroke such as Fabry’s disease should be considered in young patients with stroke if an etiologic diagnosis is not reached after complete investigations. Muscle biopsy can assist with the diagnosis and guide further investigations. This report summarizes the biochemical and histological features of Fabry’s disease and the associated genetic abnormalities.
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