Carotid plaque rather than intima-media thickness as a predictor of recurrent vascular events in patients with acute ischemic stroke
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Information regarding risk factors for early recurrence is limited. Our aim was to identify the clinical predictors of early recurrence after ischemic stroke. METHODS We prospectively examined 297 patients (mean age, 72.0+/-8.4 years) hospitalized with ischemic stroke to identify recurrent strokes occurring within 90 days of the index stroke. Survival free of recurrence was estimated using Kaplan-Meier analysis stratified by demographic variables; vascular risk factors; stroke syndrome, subtype, vascular territory, and severity; scores on the Barthel Index and Mini-Mental State Examination during hospitalization; blood pressure on admission; and selected laboratory data. We estimated the relative risk (RR) of early recurrence associated with those variables using proportional hazards analysis. RESULTS We identified 22 recurrent events in the first 90 days after the index stroke, resulting in an early stroke recurrence rate of 7.4%, and death occurred immediately after recurrence in 6 of the 22 patients. A major hemispheric stroke syndrome (RR=2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.2 to 7.1), atherothrombotic stroke mechanism (RR=3.3; CI=1.3 to 8.3), and atrial fibrillation (RR=2.2; CI=0.8 to 6.1) were independent predictors of early recurrence, after adjustment for demographic variables. Conclusions-Early recurrence was frequent and resulted in increased mortality. Attention to the clinical features of the index stroke, including the presenting syndrome and the ischemic mechanism, and the recognition of atrial fibrillation may help in the selection of patients for the initiation of targeted interventions to prevent early recurrence and subsequent mortality.