Clinical Neuroscience

[Efficacy of anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists in acut stroke patients with atrial fibrillation - Hungarian results]

SAS Attila, CSONTOS Krisztina, LOVÁSZ Rita, VALIKOVICS Attila

JANUARY 30, 2015

Clinical Neuroscience - 2015;68(01-02)

[Background and objective - An estimated 20% of ischemic strokes are of cardiogenic origin, half of which is associated with atrial fibrillation (AF). Anticoagulation treatment of patients with this arrhythmia reduces their risk of stroke. Effectiveness and safety of oral anticoagulant therapy with vitamin K antagonists (VKA) is limited, however, by their well-known narrow therapeutic window and the substantial inter- and intraindividual variability of INR values depending on genetic and dietary factors as well as drug interactions. Our objective was to evaluate the prevalence of adequate anticoagulation and the level of anticoagulant effect actually achieved among patients with AF hospitalized for acute stroke. Methods - Patients with AF admitted to our hospital ward in 2012 for acute stroke (n=226) were included in the analysis. Using descriptive statistics, relevant clinical and therapeutic characteristics of the patients were assessed, with special reference to the INR values on admission (among patients with known AF), and the clinical outcomes. Results - Of the study cohort, 170 patients had a diagnosis of AF before the admission for stroke, but 47% of them did not take anticoagulants. Patients who suffered stroke while on anticoagulants (83 on VKA, 7 on low-molecular-weight heparins), were in most cases (75%) out of the therapeutic INR range, typically undertreated (INR<2). Overall, inadequate or completely absent anticoagulation was documented in 81% of the stroke cases occurring in patients with known AF. Of the entire study cohort, 41% was discharged home, 34% required continued institutional care, and 25% died. Conclusions - The inadequacy or lack of anticoagulation was observed in the vast majority of acute strokes in patients with known AF. These cases are often related to the well-documented limitations of VKA therapy in terms of its safety, tolerability and/or practical aspects. To prevent them, important changes are warranted in the anticoagulation practice, including the closer control of VKA therapy and the broader use of new oral anticoagulants.]



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Clinical Neuroscience


RAJNA Péter, TAJTI János

Clinical Neuroscience

[Extending therapeutic possibilities in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: dimethyl fumarate]


[Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is a novel oral therapy that has recently been approved for the treatment of relapsing- remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Dimethyl fumarate shows anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties that are thought to be mediated primarily via activation of the nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 - Nrf2 transcriptional pathway, which up-regulates the genes involved in the cellular response to oxidative stress. The drug was evaluated in 2 large, randomized, double-blind, multicentric, multinational, 2-year, phase III clinical trials. The DEFINE and CONFIRM trials, conducted with over 2600 adult patients suffering from RRMS, unequivocally confirmed the efficacy of DMF (2×240 mg daily) in reducing the annualized relapse rate (ARR) and reducing the proportion of patients with MS relapse at 2 years. Significantly reduced sustained disability progression was observed with the drug versus placebo in DEFINE, while the same tendency was seen in CONFIRM. The MRI results of the studies were also convincing: DMF significantly reduced the number of new/enlarging T2-hyperintense lesions and the number of Gd-enhancing lesions compared to placebo. Dimethyl fumarate was generally well tolerated and no safety concern has been raised. Adverse events that occurred most frequently included flushing and gastrointestinal events. The long- term efficacy and tolerability of dimethyl fumarate is currently being investigated in the ENDORSE trial, with interim results demonstrating the same results as the two previous studies. In conclusion, although further, mostly comparative data are needed to fully establish the relative efficacy and tolerability of dimethyl fumarate compared with other therapies, dimethyl-fumarate is a valuable addition to the therapeutic options available for RRMS.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Role of modified open-door laminoplasty in the treatment of multilevel cervical spinal stenosis: a retrospective analysis of 43 cases]


[Background and purpose - Symptomatic degenerative multilevel cervical spinal stenosis - beside other methods - is often treated using the open-door laminoplasty. This procedure aims to decompress the spinal cord and preserve the stability of the cervical spine. The efficiency and safety of the method was proved by numerous Japanese and American studies, also the technique related complications are well known. We treated 43 patients with symptomatic multilevel cervical spine stenosis using the open-door laminoplasty as a surgical procedure of choice in the National Institute of Clinical Neurosciences between 2009 and 2012. In this article we analyse our results and the related literature is discussed. Methods - Symptomatic patients with a minimum of three-segment cervical spine stenosis and radiologically proved myelopathy or with electrophisiologically verified subclinical myelopathy were selected for laminoplasty. Patients in whom cervical kyphosis was present were operated on using laminectomy and posterior fusion. Postoperative control CT, MRI and/or X-ray images were made after the surgery and at six weeks, three, six and 12 months after the operation and in the same time neurological evaluation was performed. The modified Japanase Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale value was assigned to patients preoperatively, six weeks, three, six and 12 months after the operation. The statistical difference between the groups of data was tested by chi square test. Results - The average follow-up time was 27 months (minimum seven, maximum 42). According to the mJOA scale, 26 patient’s condition (61%) improved, in 13 cases (30%) remained unchanged, and in one case (2%) we detected neurological deterioration. We lost three patients during the follow up period. The median of mJOA preoperatively was 12 (minimum eight, maximum 18), while six week postoperative mJOA was 14 (minimum 10, maximum 17). Three, six and 12 months mean value of mJOA was 14 which shows that the improvement in patients’ condition remained stable at one year after surgery. The difference was statistically significant (p<0.05). The canal’s average anteroposterior diameter on CT was 8.29±0.92 mm at the level of C III, while after the operation we measured 15.16±1.02 mm; 7.54±0.62 mm at the level of C IV before, and 15.29±0.2 mm after; 9.05±0.48 mm at the level of C V before and 17.23±0.4 mm after the surgery. The differences proved to be significant (p=0.0001). Conclusion - According to our experiences the modified open-door laminoplasty is an efficient and safe method for the treatment of symptomatic multilevel cervical spinal stenosis.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The efficacy of lacosamide in relation to antiepileptic drug history. Clinical experiences in adult partial epilepsy]


[Objective - A retrospective study in adult partial epilepsy on the efficacy of lacosamide in relation to previous antiepileptic drug experiences. Method - We analysed 3-65 months’ data on epilepsy-care of 43 pharmacoresistant partial epilepsy patients treated with lacosamide. Further analysis of antiepileptic drug history was carried out in strictly selected subgroups of patients with good and poor therapeutic response to lacosamide (10 and 9 patients, respectively) for 2-10 years long retrospective follow up. Patients - Adult patients with partial-onset seizures had been treated previously with three or more lifetime antiepileptic drugs without permanent success. Results - Six patients (14%) were seizure free, eleven patients (25%) have experienced important improvement (their seizure-frequency decreased by at least 50%) for more than 12 months. Fourteen patients (32%) improved for less than 6 months and then have relapsed; and add-on lacosamide proved ineffective in 12 patients (28%). Those selected 10 patients successfully treated with lacosamide (seizure free for at least six months) favourably responded to carbamazepine or oxcarbazepine earlier and levetiracetam was ineffective or even caused worsening. The selected lacosamide-unresponsive nine patients responded unfavourably to carbamazepine or oxcarbazepine earlier. Fifteen patients (35%) suffered side effects as dizziness or sleepiness, in 11 of them lacosamide was combined with a „traditional” sodium-channal blocker antiepileptic drug. Conclusion - Lacosamide is an effective add-on antiepileptic drug in difficult-to treat adult partial epilepsy patients. Our data suggest that good lacosamide response may be expected in those patients who reacted favourably to „traditional” sodium-channel blocker carabamazepine or oxcarbazepine earlier.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Assessment of severity and time course of critical illness neuropathy in septic patients: a prospective observational study]


[Objective - In this prospective observational study we investigated electrophysiological alterations in the early phase of critical illness and correlated electrophysiological findings with the clinical picture and outcome. Methods - We enrolled 21 critically ill surgical patients having ≥12 Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II scores on admission. Routine non-invasive bilateral electroneurography (ENG) examination of median and ulnar nerves was done on five consecutive days starting in two days after admission. Then weekly follow-up was performed. Motor and sensory nerve conduction indices were calculated and correlated with APACHE II and Simplified Acute Physiology Score II severity scores. Results - On the first examination 18/21 patients had >20% reduction in the motor and sensory nerve conduction indices. Severity score systems showed significant negative correlation with the daily change of CMAP and SNAP amplitudes and calculated nerve conduction indices (Spearman’s correlation, p<0,001). Mortality was higher in the patients with worse admission ENG and/or stagnant electrophysiological status or declining tendency in the first week. Conclusions - Electrophysiological alterations appeared soon after the development of critical illness. Early phase alterations showed a strong correlation with patients’ general condition and more severe electrophysiological alterations predisposed to higher mortality. In several cases early alterations proved to be reversible. ]

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The applications of transcranial Doppler in ischemic stroke


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Clinical Neuroscience

[Relationships between COVID-19 disease, nutritional status, and dysphagia, particularly in stroke patients ]

KOVÁCS Andrea, SZABÓ Pál Tamás, FOLYOVICH András

[The new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes the COVID-19 disease can lead to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). It poses a serious challenge to the health care system, especially intensive care. Neurological patients, usually of advanced age and with a myriad of comorbidities, are at particular risk through the impact of the new coronavirus on their condition and nutritional capacity. Stroke is a leader in morbidity and mortality data, with a focus on dysphagia and its complications due to COVID-19 disease and acute cerebrovascular accident. In the acute phase of stroke, 30-50% of patients suffer from dysphagia, which still shows a prevalence of 10% six months later. Dysphagia results in decreased or insufficient fluid and nutrient uptake, supp­lemented by inactivity, leading to malnutrition and sarcopenia, which worsens overall condition, outcome, and rehabilitation efficiency. Screening and early detection of swallowing disorders is a fundamental issue in order to develop a personalized and timely-initiated nutritional therapy strategy. Nutritional therapy plays a key role in frequent intensive care due to COVID-19 disease, where it increases the chances of recovery and reduces the length of stay in the intensive care unit and mortality. This is especially true in critically ill patients requiring prolonged ventilation. In COVID-19 diagnosed patients, screening for dysphagia, bedside assessment, and instrumental examination, followed by swallowing rehabilitation, are of paramount importance. Stroke can also be a complication of the COVID-19 infection. Care for cerebrovascular patients has also adapted to the pandemic, “triazination” has become systemic, and dysphagia screening for stroke patients and nutritional therapy adapted to it have also shed new light. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Systemic thrombolysis and endovascular intervention in postpartum stroke]


[Introduction - There are no previously published cases about intravenously applied recombinant tissue plasminogen activator in acute ischemic stroke during puerperium. Case presentation - We report a 40-year-old woman with postpartum acute ischemic stroke caused by multiple cervical artery dissections treated by systemic thrombolysis and endovascular intervention. Discussion - There are only limited data regarding thrombolytic treatment in acute stroke during pregnancy and puerperium. Current acute stroke treatment guidelines - while considering pregnancy as a relative exclusion criterion - do not deal with the postpartum state. Conclusion - As the condition is rare, randomized controlled trials are not feasible, therefore further reports on similar cases could eventually help us suggest guidelines or at least propose recommendations for the acute thrombolytic treatment of strokes occurring in pregnancy and puerperium.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Comparison of hospitalized acute stroke patients’ characteristics using two large central-eastern european databases

ORBÁN-KIS Károly, SZŐCS Ildikó, FEKETE Klára, MIHÁLKA László, CSIBA László, BERECZKI Dániel, SZATMÁRI Szabolcs

Objectives – Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the European region. In spite of a decreasing trend, stroke related mortality remains higher in Hungary and Romania when compared to the EU average. This might be due to higher incidence, increased severity or even less effective care. Methods – In this study we used two large, hospital based databases from Targu Mures (Romania) and Debrecen (Hungary) to compare not only the demographic characteristics of stroke patients from these countries but also the risk factors, as well as stroke severity and short term outcome. Results – The gender related distribution of patients was similar to those found in the European Survey, whereas the mean age of patients at stroke onset was similar in the two countries but lower by four years. Although the length of hospital stay was significantly different in the two countries it was still much shorter (about half) than in most reports from western European countries. The overall fatality rate in both databases, regardless of gender was comparable to averages from Europe and other countries. In both countries we found a high number of risk factors, frequently overlapping. The prevalence of risk factors (hypertension, smoking, hyperlipidaemia) was higher than those reported in other countries, which can explain the high ratio of recurring stroke. Discussion – In summary, the comparatively analyzed data from the two large databases showed several similarities, especially regarding the high number of modifiable risk factors, and as such further effort is needed regarding primary prevention.

Lege Artis Medicinae

[The history of acute stroke care in Hungary ]


[Stroke is one of the most frequent causes of death and the most important cause of permanent disability worldwide and also in Hungary. The Hungarian medical literature has mentioned this disease and has been giving recommendations for its treatment since 1690. Initially folk medicines, herbal preparations and phlebotomy were used as standard therapy. Later, cooling the head joined these methods. Pharmacy preparations emerged at the middle of the 19th century. From the middle of the 20th century, products of the pharmaceutical industry like blood flow enhancers and neuroprotective drugs were in the frontline of the acute care. Anti­hy­per­ten­sive, antithrombotic and lipid-lowering medications became part of stro­ke prevention. Imaging techniques – mainly computer tomography of the brain and ultrasound examination of the cervical large arteries – have radically changed the diagnostics of cerebrovascular diseases from the middle of the 1980s. Since the 1990s, diagnostic and therapeutic decisions are based on reliable evidence from good quality clinical trials. Since the beginning of the 21st century, reperfusion treatments (intravenous thrombolysis and mechanical thrombectomy) re­present the most effective emergency care. The current direction is the extension of the therapeutic time-window of reperfusion treatments based on sophisticated neruoimaging. This review provides a brief summary of the development of stroke care in the last three and a half centuries as reflected in the Hungarian medical literature. ]