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Carotid artery stenosis causes up to 20% of ischemic strokes. Stenting is used as an alternative to endarterectomy in symptomatic patients. Each commercially available stent offers numerous stent diameters/lengths. Most centers thus carefully match each individual stenosis to a specific stent length/diameter stent size. However, this process can be time-consuming and costly while the relative benefit of a custom stent sizing versus one-size-fits-all approach has not been well evaluated yet. We hypothesized that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ default approach to carotid stenting results in comparable results to a customized approach.
We conducted a descriptive retrospective cohort study on 154 patients who presented to our academic carotid revascularization clinic with symptomatic carotid artery stenosis who underwent carotid artery stenting for peri- and postprocedural carotid artery stenting complications. The primary outcomes were periprocedural (within 24 hours of the procedure) or postprocedural (within 30 days of the procedure) TIA, stroke, or death. The secondary outcome was the estimated degree of stenosis on follow-up ultrasound performed within 6 months of the procedure.
The complication rate within the first 24 hours was 4.5% while that during the first 30 days postprocedure was 6.5%. Age over 80 and degree of stenosis on postprocedural cerebral angiogram were associated with an increased risk of complications. Severe restenosis was reported in 16.8% of patients within 6 months postprocedure.
Our study suggests that using a simplified, one-size-fits-all, approach to carotid stenting results in safe and effective outcomes, suggesting an alternative to simplify a complex medical procedure.
The 2020 update of the Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations (CSBPR) for the Secondary Prevention of Stroke includes current evidence-based recommendations and expert opinions intended for use by clinicians across a broad range of settings. They provide guidance for the prevention of ischemic stroke recurrence through the identification and management of modifiable vascular risk factors. Recommendations address triage, diagnostic testing, lifestyle behaviors, vaping, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, other cardiac conditions, antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapies, and carotid and vertebral artery disease. This update of the previous 2017 guideline contains several new or revised recommendations. Recommendations regarding triage and initial assessment of acute transient ischemic attack (TIA) and minor stroke have been simplified, and selected aspects of the etiological stroke workup are revised. Updated treatment recommendations based on new evidence have been made for dual antiplatelet therapy for TIA and minor stroke; anticoagulant therapy for atrial fibrillation; embolic strokes of undetermined source; low-density lipoprotein lowering; hypertriglyceridemia; diabetes treatment; and patent foramen ovale management. A new section has been added to provide practical guidance regarding temporary interruption of antithrombotic therapy for surgical procedures. Cancer-associated ischemic stroke is addressed. A section on virtual care delivery of secondary stroke prevention services in included to highlight a shifting paradigm of care delivery made more urgent by the global pandemic. In addition, where appropriate, sex differences as they pertain to treatments have been addressed. The CSBPR include supporting materials such as implementation resources to facilitate the adoption of evidence into practice and performance measures to enable monitoring of uptake and effectiveness of recommendations.
Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) post-stroke is frequent but may go undetected, which highlights the need to better screen cognitive functioning following a stroke.
We examined the clinical utility of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in detecting cognitive impairment against a gold-standard neuropsychological battery.
We assessed cognitive status with a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests in 161 individuals who were at least 3-months post-stroke. We used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves to identify two cut points for the MoCA to maximize sensitivity and specificity at a minimum 90% threshold. We examined the utility of the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, a processing speed measure, to determine whether this additional metric would improve classification relative to the MoCA total score alone.
Using two cut points, 27% of participants scored ≤ 23 and were classified as high probability of cognitive impairment (sensitivity 92%), and 24% of participants scored ≥ 28 and were classified as low probability of cognitive impairment (specificity 91%). The remaining 48% of participants scored from 24 to 27 and were classified as indeterminate probability of cognitive impairment. The addition of a processing speed measure improved classification for the indeterminate group by correctly identifying 65% of these individuals, for an overall classification accuracy of 79%.
The utility of the MoCA in detecting cognitive impairment post-stroke is improved when using a three-category approach. The addition of a processing speed measure provides a practical and efficient method to increase confidence in the determined outcome while minimally extending the screening routine for VCI.
We assessed the impact of the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic on code stroke activations in the emergency department, stroke unit admissions, and referrals to the stroke prevention clinic at London’s regional stroke center, serving a population of 1.8 million in Ontario, Canada. We found a 20% drop in the number of code strokes in 2020 compared to 2019, immediately after the first cases of COVID-19 were officially confirmed. There were no changes in the number of stroke admissions and there was a 22% decrease in the number of clinic referrals, only after the provincial lockdown. Our findings suggest that the decrease in code strokes was mainly driven by patient-related factors such as fear to be exposed to the SARS-CoV-2, while the reduction in clinic referrals was largely explained by hospital policies and the Government lockdown.
A 62-year-old male presented to hospital with acute aphasia. His past medical history was significant for a previous left middle cerebral artery stroke, from which he fully recovered, hypertension, dyslipidemia, coronary artery disease, one episode of atrial fibrillation postoperatively, and thalidomide exposure in utero. Although initially he was thought to be aphasic, on further examination, he demonstrated significant abulia. His level of consciousness was normal, and neurological examination was otherwise unremarkable. A CT angiogram of the head and neck was performed. The patient was not a candidate for acute therapy, as he had established stroke on imaging, and the time of onset was unclear.