HealthDay News — The risk of ischemic stroke is highest during the first two days after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), and decreases gradually, but stays elevated for eight weeks, according to a study published in the January 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Torunn Varmdal, MPA, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, and colleagues applied the case-crossover method using data from the Norwegian Patient Register on all hospitalizations from 2008 to 2014 to quantify the transient change in the risk of stroke for up to 12 weeks after PCI. 

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The researchers found that the highest relative risk (RR) of ischemic stroke was seen during the first two days after PCI (RR, 17.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.2 to 72.8), and the risk decreased gradually in the following weeks. At weeks four to eight after PCI, the corresponding RR was 2.0 (95% CI, 1.2 to 3.3). During the first four postprocedural weeks, the RR for women was more than twice as high as for men (RR, 10.5 [95% CI, 3.8 to 29.3] versus 4.4 [95% CI, 2.7 to 7.2]). The results were compatible with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke seen at four to eight weeks after PCI, although there were few events (RR, 3.0; 95% CI, 0.8 to 11.1).

“Increased awareness of this vulnerable period after PCI in clinicians and patients could contribute to earlier detection and treatment for patients suffering a postprocedural stroke,” the authors write.

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