(HealthDay News) — A computed tomography (CT) scan shortly after a transient ischemic attack can help identify patients at risk of suffering another stroke within three months, new research suggests. The study was published online December 4 in Stroke.
The study included 2,028 people who had CT scans of the brain within 24 hours of suffering a transient ischemic attack. Of those patients, 40% had brain damage due to ischemia. Compared to people who didn’t have an interruption in blood flow to part of their brains, the risk of another stroke within 90 days was almost three times higher in those with new brain damage due to acute ischemia. The risk of another stroke was more than five times higher in people with previous brain damage from chronic ischemia in addition to the acute damage.
The risk was also nearly five times higher in people with damage from insufficient blood flow along with any type of small blood vessel damage in the brain. The risk of another stroke was about eight times higher in those people who had recent damage from ischemia and chronic ischemia, as well as small blood vessel damage. While 3.4% of all the patients in the study had another stroke within 90 days, the rate was 25% among those with all three types of damage to the brain.
“During the 90-day period, and also within the first two days after the initial attack, patients did much worse in terms of experiencing a subsequent stroke if they had additional areas of damage along with acute ischemia,” coauthor Jeffrey Perry, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Ottawa in Canada, said in a news release from the American Heart Association. “These findings should prompt physicians to be more aggressive in managing patients with transient ischemic attack or non-disabling stroke who are diagnosed with acute ischemia, especially if there is additional chronic ischemia and/or microangiopathy.”