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Clinical Neuroscience

NOVEMBER 30, 2020

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

NOVEMBER 20, 2015

[A rare complication of a rare disease; stroke due to relapsing polychondritis]


[Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is an episodic and progressive inflammatory disease of cartilaginous structures. Its diagnosis is based primarily on clinical features such as laboratory parameters, biopsy. Neurological complications occur in 3% of the cases and are classified as an important cause of death. The cranial nerve disorders are most common but hemiplegia, ataxia, myelitis, polyneuritis, seizures, confusion, hallucination and headache can also happen. The aetiology of central nervous system involvement is still unknown. Moreover stroke has rarely reported in these patients. The diagnosis of stroke is challenging because of its rarity among these patients. Perhaps vasculitis is the common underlying mechanism. Also meningitis and encephalitis can occur during the course of RP. A 44 year-old woman was admitted with uncontemplated left hemiparesis, redness, swelling, and tenderness of the metacarpophalangeal and interphalangeal joints of the right hand and the cartilaginous portion. White blood cell count, C-reactive protein and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate were elevated. Vasculitis biomarkers were normal in our patient. Carotid and vertebral artery doppler ultrasonography, cranial and cervical MR Angiography were normal. Echocardiography showed a mild mitral valve prolapse and regurgitation. Our patient had the history of auricular polychondritis but she had not been diagnosed. Hemiparesis was her first neurological manifestation that led her to doctors for diagnosis. Our patient fulfilled the criteria of RP so no biopsy was needed. She was treated with oral prednisolone (80 mg/day) and aspirin (300 mg/day) and now she is on 10 mg prednisolone and 150 mg azathioprine. Two months later her physical and neurological symptoms returned to normal.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

NOVEMBER 15, 2019

[Vascular biomarkers ]


[While risk scores are invaluable tools for adapted preventive strategies, a significant gap exists between predicted and actual event rates. Additional tools to further refine the risk stratification of patients at an individual level are biomarkers. A surrogate endpoint is a biomarker that is intended as a substitute for and being realized earlier than a clinical hard endpoint. In order to be suitable as a surrogate endpoint of cardiovascular events, a biomarker should meet several well-defined criteria. It has been proposed that a plenty of potential vascular biomarkers would have a role in primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention. Most of the biomarkers examined fit within the concept of early vascular aging. The only biomarkers that fulfill most of the criteria and, therefore, are close to being considered a clinical surrogate endpoint are carotid ultrasonography, ankle-brachial index and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity. ]

Hypertension and nephrology

OCTOBER 23, 2019

[Non-invasive evaluation of cardiovascular risk in pediatric chronic kidney disease patients]

BÁRCZI Adrienn, DÉGI Arianna Amália, KIS Éva, REUSZ György

[Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Similar to adults, children with CKD experience a high burden of traditional and uremia-associated risk factors. Recent years, several studies were published in connection with cardiovascular risk factors, patomechanism, and early markers of cardiovascular diseases. Early signs of cardiomyopathy, such as left ventricular hypertrophy or dysfunction, and markers of atherosclerosis, such as increased intima-media thickness of the carotid artery or increased wall stiffness of the aorta are frequently present in early stages of CKD in children. As prevention is important in pediatrics, the evaluation of subtle changes of the cardiovascular system provide opportunity for early treatment and that enables children to develop normally and have a better long-term quality of life. Recently, newer non-invasive cardiovascular imaging modalities have been emerged to diagnose subclinical alterations of the heart and vessels in this specific population with kidney disease. In this review, we provide an overwiev of the emerging imaging techniques used to detect early subclinical organ damage in pediatric chronic kidney disease patients.]

Clinical Neuroscience

JULY 30, 2019

Effects of CHADS2 score, echocardiographic and haematologic parameters on stroke severity and prognosis in patients with stroke due to nonvalvular atrial fibrillation


Introduction - The aim of this study is to evaluate utility of CHADS2 score to estimate stroke severity and prognosis in patients with ischemic stroke due to non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) in addition to evaluate effects of hematologic and echocardiographic findings on stroke severity and prognosis. Methods - This prospective study included 156 ischemic stroke cases due to non-valvular AF in neurology ward of Trakya University Medical School between March 2013-March 2015. National Institute of Health Stroke (NIHS) score was used to evaluate severity of stroke at admission. Carotid and vertebral Doppler ultrasonography findings, brain computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cases were evaluated. Left atrial diameter and ejection fraction (EF) values were measured. CHADS2 score was calculated. Modified Rankin Scale was used to rate the degree of dependence. Effects of age and sex of the patients, presence of diabetes mellitus (DM), Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), Cerebrovascular Disease (CVD) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels on CHADS2, NIHS, and mRS were evaluated. Results - In patients with age ≥75, mean NIHS score was 3.3 points and mean mRS score was 1.02 points higher, than in patient below 75 years of age. Compared with the mild risk group, cases in the high risk group had older age, higher serum D-dimer, fibrinogen and CRP levels and lower EF. A positive relation was detected between stroke severity and Hemorrhagic Transformation (HT), previous CVD history, and presence of CHF. A significant association was found between increased stroke severity and Early Neurological Deterioration (END) development. Older age, higher serum fibrinogen, D-dimer, CRP and lower EF values were associated with poor prognosis. History of CVD and presence of CHF were associated with poor prognosis. END development was found to be associated with poor prognosis. In the high-risk group, 30.3% (n = 33) had END. Among those in the high-risk group according to the CHADS2 score, END development rate was found to be significantly higher than in the moderate risk group (p <0.05). There was a strong positive correlation between CHADS2 and NIHS scores. mRS score increased with increasing CHADS2 score and there was a strong correlation between them. Effect of stroke severity on prognosis was assessed and a positive correlation was found between NIHS score and mRS value. Discussion - Our study demonstrated the importance of CHADS2 score, haemostatic activation and echocardiographic findings to assess stroke severity and prognosis. Knowing factors which affect stroke severity and prognosis in patients with ischemic stroke may be directive to decide primary prevention and stroke management.

Clinical Neuroscience

MAY 30, 2019

Population-based stroke screening days in the 12th district of Budapest in 2011 and 2016 - What have and what have not changed?


Introduction - Population-based screening is an option to identify persons at high risk for stroke. However it is associated with rather high expenses, necessitating the selection of effective methods that take local characteristics into account. The 12th district of Budapest has a long tradition of population-based screening for frequent and preventable diseases. The Szent János Hospital hosts an annual stroke screening day. In the present study, previously published data from the 2011 screening were compared with those obtained in 2016, looking for changes and tendencies throughout the examined period. Subjects and methods - The screening day was conducted in a generally similar way in 2011 and 2016. Similarly to the previous event, the program was organized on a Saturday, the call for the event was spread by the local newspaper. The crew composition was the same. As regards the components of the screening (currently including general history taking, risk status assessment, blood pressure measurement, BMI assessment, cholesterol and blood glucose tests, carotid duplex ultrasonography, and ophthalmological examination), the only difference was the absence of cardiologic examination (it was conducted on an independent day). The anonymous data sheet was the same. Results - The number of participants in the 2016 event was 33, to provide more comfortable conditions. The female predominance was slightly less pronounced but was still present in 2016 (60.6% vs. 72.9%). The mean age became substantially higher (71.2 y vs. 62.9 y). The ratios of participants with higher level of education (97% vs. 94%) and those who are married were still remarkable. The most frequent risk factors were the same; however the ratio of participants with hypertension, ‘other heart disease’, and diabetes increased, whereas that of with hyperlipidemia and obesity decreased. The incidence of atrial fibrillation was unaltered. None of the participants in 2016 admitted smoking (previously this ratio was 20.8%) or drinking heavily. The findings of the carotid ultrasonography revealed a more favorable vascular status. Ophthalmological assessments (predominantly hypertensive alterations on fundoscopy) revealed that the pathological vs. physiological ratio switched to 1:2 from 2:1. The final evaluation of the screening program likewise demonstrated an improved overall state of health of the population. Conclusions - We observed a more favorable stroke risk status of the population in 2016. Whether it is indeed a tendency unknown at present. The role of the local media in calling for screening is still decisive, and the cohesive power of the family is important.

Clinical Neuroscience

JANUARY 30, 2019

Is isolated hand weakness associated with subtypes of stroke?

YILDIRIM Ahmet, GÜNGEN Dogan Belma

Background and aim - Isolated hand weakness is an uncommon condition in stroke patients. It is frequently confused with peripheral nerve system (PNS) pathologies; misdiagnosis may delay identification of the etiology and treatment of stroke. Herein, we aimed to underline the necessity of keeping the diagnosis of stroke in mind in case of patients with isolated hand weakness and to assess the etiology of stroke. Materials and methods - A total of eight patients (four females and four males), who are presented with isolated hand weakness and had acute cortical infarction documented via cranial MRI, were enrolled in the study. Demographic characteristics, physical and radiological findings of the patients, as well as the lateralization and etiology of infarction were evaluated. Results - The mean age of the patients was 61.8 ± 12 years. Isolated hand weakness was in the dominant hand in four patients. According to the etiology and clinical signs, the stroke was cardioembolic in three patients and they had predominant radial-side (thumb and index) finger weakness. Large vessel atherosclerosis was present in three patients; two patients with predominant ulnar-side (little and ring) finger weakness and one patient with uniform finger weakness; there were two patients with stroke of undetermined etiology and they had uniform finger weakness. Conclusion - Keeping stroke in mind together with PNS pathologies in case of isolated hand weakness is critical for early diagnosis and treatment of the patients. In addition, cardioembolic focus should be considered in case of predominant radial-side finger weakness, whereas particular attention should be paid to carotid artery diseases in case of predominant ulnar-side finger weakness.

Hypertension and nephrology

DECEMBER 10, 2018

[Prognostic role of arterial stiffness in IgA nephropathy]

SÁGI Balázs, KÉSŐI István, VAS Tibor, CSIKY Botond, KOVÁCS Tibor, NAGY Judit

[Background: Arterial stiffness has a prognostic role in chronic cardiovascular diseases. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) determined by the carotid-femoral pulse detection is accepted as a gold standard method. Further diagnostic procedures are in use to assess the arterial stiffness including the finger photoplethysmography. The prognostic role of this method is limited in chronic renal diseases. The goal of our investigation was to determine the prognostic significance of the stiffness index (SIDVP) measured by the photoplethysmographic method in IgA nephropathy. Patients and methods: One hundred and three histologically proved IgA nephropathy patients with chronic kidney disease stage 1-4 were investigated (67 male, 36 female, 45 ± 11 years) and followed for an average 65 (6-107) months. The stiffness index was determined by the volume alteration of the digital artery during the cardiac cycle (Pulse Trace system, Micro Medical, Gilingham, Kent, UK). The primary combined end point was total mortality, major cardiovascular events (stroke, myocardial infarction or cardiovascular procedure, for example revascularisation) plus achieving end stage renal disease. The secondary end points were cardiovascular and renal end points alone. Results: The patients with increased stiffness index (> 10 m/s) had significantly more combined primary end point events (10/60 vs. 19/43, P = 0.015). In case of the secondary end points the renal end points were significantly more frequent in patients with higher stiffness index. Stiffness index has also proved to be an independent predictor on survival from other cardiovascular risk factors (age, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, lipid disturbances and decrease of renal function) using the Cox regression model in IgA nephropathy. Every 1 m/s increase in stiffness index resulted a 17% gain in the occurrence of the combined primary end point. Conclusions: Stiffness index determined by finger photoplethysmography is an eligible parameter to assess the prognosis in IgA nephropathy. Increased stiffness index in IgA nephropathy seems to be a good prognostic tool for identification of higher risk patients.]

Clinical Neuroscience

JULY 30, 2018

Can high uric acid levels be an independent risk factor for acute ischemic stroke due to large-artery atherosclerosis?

ACAR Türkan, ARAS Guzey Yesim, GÜL Sinem Sidika, ACAR Atılgan Bilgehan

Introduction - Uric acid is a molecule that is known to act as a natural antioxidant in acute oxidative stress conditions such as acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Although there are several studies on the prognostic value of serum uric acid (UA) level, especially the AIS, its importance in ischemic stroke is still controversial. Our aim in this study is to investigate whether the serum UA level is an indicative biomarker in the large-artery atherosclerosis in the AIS etiology. Material and method - Of the patients admitted to Sakarya University Training and Research Hospital Depart-ment of Neurology between January 2017 and November 2017, 91 hospitalized patients, who had AIS diagnosis and had their uric acid levels measured, were analyzed retrospectively. Patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), hypertension (HT), smoking habit, obesity, gout, hyperlipidemia (HL) and renal failure were excluded from the study. Patients were classified as anterior system and posterior system infarct. Then, patients were divided into two groups, one with internal carotid artery (ICA) > 50% stenosis and the other with ICA < 50% stenosis according to carotid-vertebral artery doppler USG examination performed for etiology. Serum UA, total bilirubin, direct bilirubin and indirect bilirubin levels of both groups were statistically compared. Results - In the comparison of serum UA values of ICA>50% stenosis and ICA<50% stenosis group of AIS patients, a statistically significant difference was found between the UA levels (p<0.000), but there was no difference between total bilirubin, direct bilirubin and indirect bilirubin values (p>0.05). Conclusion - High uric acid levels can be considered an independent, indicative risk factor for large-artery disease in AIS.

Clinical Neuroscience

MAY 30, 2018

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.