Subacute management of ischemic stroke.
Am Fam Physician. 2011 Dec 15;84(12):1383-8
Authors: Bernheisel CR, Schlaudecker JD, Leopold K
Ischemic stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a common reason for hospitalization. The subacute period after a stroke refers to the time when the decision to not employ thrombolytics is made up until two weeks after the stroke occurred. Family physicians are often involved in the subacute management of ischemic stroke. All patients with an ischemic stroke should be admitted to the hospital in the subacute period for cardiac and neurologic monitoring. Imaging studies, including magnetic resonance angiography, carotid artery ultrasonography, and/or echocardiography, may be indicated to determine the cause of the stroke. Evaluation for aspiration risk, including a swallowing assessment, should be performed, and nutritional, physical, occupational, and speech therapy should be initiated. Significant causes of morbidity and mortality following ischemic stroke include venous thromboembolism, pressure sores, infection, and delirium, and measures should be taken to prevent these complications. For secondary prevention of future strokes, antiplatelet therapy with aspirin should be initiated within 24 hours of ischemic stroke in all patients without contraindications, and one of several antiplatelet regimens should be continued long-term. Statin therapy should also be given in most situations. Although permissive hypertension is initially warranted, antihypertensive therapy should begin within 24 hours. Diabetes mellitus should be controlled and patients counseled about lifestyle modifications to reduce stroke risk. Rehabilitative therapy following hospitalization improves outcomes and should be considered.
PMID: 22230273 [PubMed - in process]