Clinical Neuroscience

[Relationship between patent foramen ovale and cryptogenic stroke in a retrospective hospital-based study]

BÖJTI Péter Pál1,2, BARTHA Noémi Eszter3, MAY Zsolt1, BERECZKI Dániel1,2, FÜLÖP Szilvia1,2, SZAKÁCS ZOLTÁN1, SZILÁGYI Géza1,2

MAY 30, 2018

Clinical Neuroscience - 2018;71(05-06)


[Objective - After routine workup, 23-25% of ischemic strokes etiology remains unknown, i.e. cryptogenic. However, according to international results pathogenic patent foramen ovale (PFO) reveals in 25% of these cases. Aim of our retrospective study to prove the substantial etiological role of PFO-related stroke (PFO-RS) in cryptogenic strokes (CS), and to identify age related differences in stroke etiology. Methods - All new ischemic strokes of 2014-2015 were classified by ASCOD (Atherosclerosis, Small-vessel disease, Cardiac pathology, Other, Dissection) phenotyping. CS was defined when the etiology was unknown. With the help of special ultrasound techniques and RoPE (Risk of Paradoxical Embolism) score the portion of PFO-RS were determined in the examined CS population. Moreover, etiological distribution and differences between age groups (<40, 40-60, >60 years) were described. Results - During the examined period, 8.12% of 985 new ischemic strokes were categorized as CS. 41.38% of examined CS were found to be PFO-related. PFO-RS were considerably more frequent in the younger age groups than in the older age groups. The probability of appearance of PFO-RS were significantly higher in younger age than in case of age independency. Our results verify the substantial etiological role of PFO-RS in CS, and confirm the essential role of contrast enhanced functional transcranial Doppler in the routine diagnostic workup. Age related differences in stroke etiology were found to be statistically significant (p=0.000, df=14), in which small-vessel disease, cardiac pathology, dissection, other pathologies, CS and PFO-RS were contributed significantly. Based on our results, till in young age rare etiologies are typical, while in older age classical etiologies are mainly characteristic.]


  1. Magyar Honvédség Egészségügyi Központ, Neurológiai Osztály, Budapest, Magyarország
  2. Semmelweis Egyetem, Szentágothai János Idegtudományi Doktori Iskola, Budapest, Magyarország
  3. Marosvásárhelyi Orvosi és Gyógyszerészeti Egyetem, Általános Orvostudományi Kar, Marosvásárhely, Románia



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

Is stroke indeed a “Monday morning disease”?


Introduction - The therapeutic time window of acute stroke is short. Decision on the use of intravenous thrombolysis is based on well-defined criteria. Any delay in the transport to a designated stroke centre decreases the odds of therapeutic success. In Hungary, the admission rate of stroke patients peaks on Monday, the number gradually decreasing by the end of the week. This phenomenon has long been suggested to be due to the lack of emergency care approach. According to the literature, however, returning to work following a holiday is a risk factor for acute stroke. A similar phenomenon is well-known in veterinary medicine, a condition in horses referred to as ‘Monday morning disease’. In our study, we analysed the distribution of admissions due to acute stroke by the day of the week in 4 independent data sources. Patients and methods - The number of patients admitted to the Szent János Hospital, Budapest, Hungary with stroke and that of emergency ambulance transports in the whole city of Budapest due to acute stroke were analysed in the period between January 1 and March 31, 2009. The distribution of thrombolytic interventions reflecting hospitalizations for hyperacute stroke was analysed based on data of the Szent János Hospital in 2009-2012, and on national data from 2006-2012. Descriptive statistics was used to present the data. The variation between daily admission was compared by chi-square test. Results - The proportion of daily admission of stroke patients admitted to the Szent János Hospital was the highest at the beginning of the week (18% on Monday, and 21% on Tuesday) and the lowest on the weekend (9% and 9% on Saturday and Sunday, respectively). The distribution of ambulance transports in Budapest due to acute stroke tended to be similar (15% and 15% on Monday and Tuesday, whereas 13% and 12% on Saturday and Sunday, respectively) on different days of the week. No such Monday peak could be observed in a single centre regarding thrombolytic interventions: 18% and 19% of the total of 80 thrombolytic interventions in the Szent János Hospital were performed on Monday and Sunday, respectively. At the national level the higher Monday rate is obvious: during a 7-year period 16.0%, 12.7%, and 13.5% of all thrombolytic interventions in Hungary were performed on Monday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Conclusion - Monday preference of stroke is not exclusively caused by the lack of emergency care approach, and the phenomenon is not consistent at the individual hospital level in cases undergoing thrombolysis.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment of insomnias with regard to sleep medicine]


[Insomnia - one of the most prevalent sleep complain - has a great impact on the everyday life. Basically two different form of insomnia can be defined: the insomnia disorder and the co-morbid insomnias. To treat adequately determination of background pathology is essential, which is based on the help of Sleep Medicine Centers. According to the newest guidelines, the treatment of insomnia disorder is based on cognitive behavioural therapies followed by pharmaceutical intervention. In this review we provide the short description of cognitive behavioural therapies and basic principles of hypnotic drugs. Despite the availability of insomnia guidelines the huge variation of the insomnia medication can be seen in the daily practice. Due to the above mentioned reasons we summarize the good clinical practice of hypnotic drug administration for insomnia patients.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Retrospective comparison of efficacy of levetiracetam and lacosamide add-on treatments in patients with partial onset seizure

ACAR Türkan, ARAS Guzey Yesim

Objective - The study aims to retrospectively compare the efficacy of lacosamide (LCS) and levetiracetam (LEV) in add-on treatment in patients with partial-onset epilepsy. Material and method - Patients who have been followed-up for at least one year due to diagnosis of partial epilepsy between September 2014 and December 2017 and who had no seizure control, despite using at least two antiepileptic monotherapies, and therefore undergone LEV or LCS add-on treatment were retrospectively reviewed. Of the patients, total number of seizures and seizure control rates 6 months before and 3 and 6 months after the add-on treatment were compared. Results - There was no statistically significant difference between the 30 patients in the LEV group (12 females, 18 males, mean age 29.7±6.6) and 28 patients in the LCS group (12 females, 16 males, mean age 28.2±6.4) in terms of age, gender and the duration of illness. When the LEV and LCS groups were evaluated separately, the mean number of seizures within 3 and 6 months after the add- on treatment were significantly lower than the mean number of seizures in the last 6 months before the add-on treatment (p<0.005 and p<0.005 respectively). There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups when compared with each other in terms of the rate of decrease in number of seizures and seizure control before and after the add-on treatment (p=0.445 and p=0.238, respectively). Conclusion - LCS appears to be as effective as the currently well-established LEV in the treatment of partial onset seizures. No comparative study was found in the literature similar to this subject matter. There is a need for prospective studies for the comparison of the efficacies of these two drugs.

Clinical Neuroscience

Evaluation of ischemic stroke patients with systemic cancer

UFUK Emre, TASKIN Gunes, IREM Pinar, FURUZAN Kokturk, ESENGUL Liman, ORHAN Yağiz

Purpose - In cancer patients, an ischemic stroke can be seen as both a direct effect of cancer and a complication of treatment. This condition can negatively affect the follow-up and treatment of these patients. For this research, we aimed to evaluate the clinical features, stroke types and etiological features of ischemic stroke patients with histories of cancer or found to have cancer during the aetiological investigation. Materials and methods - We retrospectively evaluated 100 patients (57 males, 43 females) who were hospitalized with acute stroke and determined to have the presence of cancer or a cancer history during the aetiological investigation between 2011 and 2016. All the demographic features, stroke types and localizations, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores, Rankin Scale scores, durations of cancer and cancer treatments were recorded. Results - The mean age of the patients was 67.07 ± 10.9 years old, the median NIHSS score was 5, and the median Rankin Scale score was 4. While 79% of patients had ischemic stroke risk factors, 21% did not. Atherosclerotic stroke was the most common stroke type (49%, n=49) and cryptogenic strokes were detected in 21% (n=21). In addition, 63% of the patients had chronic cancer (later than 6 months), 31% of the patients had recent cancer histories (less than 6 months), and 29% of the patients had metastases. Among all the malignancies, lung cancer (n=23), gastrointestinal cancer (n=20) and gynaecological-breast cancer (n=16) were the three most common. Moreover, 37% of the patients underwent chemotherapy, 29% underwent radiotherapy, and 88% of the patients had Carotid/Vertebral Doppler USG abnormalities. Conclusion - Similar to what is stated in the literature, an atherosclerotic stroke was the most common type of stroke in the cancer patients. Stroke risk factors were not detected in 21% of the patients, and in the majority of the patients, atherosclerotic changes in the carotid artery were observed in the Doppler examinations. In the aetiology and prognosis of ischemic stroke, it is important to keep in mind the existence of cancer in addition to the classical stroke risk factors.

Clinical Neuroscience

What is the real effect of pregabalin in patients with diabetic neuropathic pain? (Do patients suffer from less pain or do they less care about it?)

CAGDAS Erdogan, NEDIM Ongun, SELIM Tümkaya, HAKAN Alkan, NEŞE Öztürk

Objectives - Depression and anxiety are frequent in patients with chronic diseases such as diabetic neuropathic pain. The pain seems to be more severe in patients in whom depressive findings accompanied pain symptoms. Pregabalin was reported to have positive effects on anxiety and depression. This brings out the question, whether the pain relief effect of pregabalin is due to its analgesic effect or to its effects on mood? The aim of this study is to find out whether the positive effect of pregabalin in patients with diabetic neuropathic pain is limited to its effect on pain. Thus the question - do patients suffer from less pain or do they less care about pain? - should be answered. Methods - With this aim the NRS scores of 46 patients with diabetic neuropathic pain, whose HADS scores did not change with pregabalin treatment were compared with their baseline levels, retrospectively. Results - The NRS scores of the group were reduced with pregabalin treatment. Conclusion - This results suggests that the reduced pain in pregabalin treatment should be independent from its effects on depression and anxiety.

All articles in the issue

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Clinical Neuroscience

The applications of transcranial Doppler in ischemic stroke


Background: This overview provides a summary of the applications of transcranial Doppler (TCD) in ischemic stroke. Results: A fast-track neurovascular ultrasound protocol has been developed for detecting occlusion or stenosis. The technique is more reliable in the carotid area than in the posterior circulation. By monitoring the pulsatility index the in­crea­sed intracranial pressure can be diagnosed. TIBI score was developed for grading residual flow. TCD has been shown to accurately predict complete or any recanalization. Regarding recanalization, TCD has a sensitivity of 92%, a specificity of 88%, a positive predictive value of 96%, a negative predictive value of 78% and an overall accuracy of 91%, respectively. Sonothrombolysis seemed to be a promising application but randomized controlled trials have shown that it does not improve clinical outcome. TCD examination can detect microembolic signals (MES) which are associated with an increased risk of stroke. Micro­em­boli were detected in symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis and during carotid endarterectomy. The number of microemboli can be decreased by antithrombotic therapy. Contrast en­chan­ced examination and Valsalva maneuver with continuous TCD monitoring can accurately screen for right-to-left shunt.

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. ]

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. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of intravenous thrombolysis before mechanical thrombectomy in the treatment of large vessel occlusion strokes ]

KALMÁR Péter János, TÁRKÁNYI Gábor, KARÁDI Zsófia Nozomi, BOSNYÁK Edit, NAGY Csaba Balázs, CSÉCSEI Péter, LENZSÉR Gábor, BÜKI András, JANSZKY József, SZAPÁRY László

[The efficacy of intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) is moderate in the proximal vascular segments of intracranial arteries, as opposed to mecha­nical thrombectomy (MT). In the management of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) caused by large vessel occlusions (LVO), IVT prior to MT is highly recommended based on the latest guidelines, but the necessity of IVT has been questioned by the latest studies of the past years. The aim of our study was to investigate and compare the efficacy and safety of direct mechanical thrombectomy (dMT) and combined therapy (CT) for patients who suffered an AIS with LVO and were treated in our department. We investigated patients with AIS caused by LVO who were admitted up to 4.5 hours after symptom onset and underwent MT in our department between November 2017 and August 2019. Patients’ data were collected in our stroke register. Patients enrolled in our study were divided into two groups depending on whether dMT or CT was used. Our primary outcome was the 30- and 90- day functional outcome measured by modified Rankin Scale (mRS). Mortality at 30- and 90- day, successful recanalization rates, and symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage were considered as secondary outcomes. A total of 142 patients (age: 68.3 ± 12.6 years, 53.5% female) were enrolled in our study, including 81 (57.0%) dMT cases, and 61 (43.0%) patients who received CT. The vascular risk factors and comorbidities were significantly higher in the dMT-treated group. At day 30, the rate of favorable functional outcomes was 34.7% in dMT vs. 43.6% among those who received CT (p = 0.307), by day 90 this ratio changed to 40.8% vs. 46.3% (p = 0.542). Mortality rates at day 30 were 22.2% and 23.6% (p = 0.851), and at day 90 33.8% and 25.9% (p = 0.343). The rate of effective recanalization was 94.2% for dMT-treated patients and 98.0% for CT-treated patients (p = 0.318). Symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage was detected in 2.5% of dMT-treated patients and 3.4% of CT-treated group (p = 0.757). Our results suggest that CT is associated with a moderately better outcome compared to dMT. IVT prior to MT did not increase the risk of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhages.]

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.]