Simple test may identify stroke survivors at risk of another cardiovascular event

Aug 27, 2009

Measuring circulation in the ankle using a device similar to a blood pressure cuff can help identify asymptomatic peripheral artery disease (PAD) in stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) survivors, a group at much higher risk of subsequent cerebrovascular events, according to a study in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The ankle brachial index (ABI) compares blood flow in the ankle and the arm to detect poor circulation caused by fatty plaque buildup in the lower body. Researchers used it to screen 102 stroke and TIA survivors. The investigators found that 26 percent of the survivors had asymptomatic PAD, and they had three times more subsequent cardiovascular events - stroke, heart attacks or death — in the following two years compared to those without PAD. Fifty percent with asymptomatic PAD suffered subsequent events, compared with 16 percent of those without the disease. In addition, PAD was significantly associated with future vascular events, especially strokes.

This is one of the first studies to find an independent positive association between asymptomatic PAD and cardiovascular events among stroke and TIA patients, according to the researchers.

PAD occurs when arteries in the extremities become obstructed by plaque. Leg pain, cramping, weakness and limping during physical exertion are the primary symptom, yet surveys show that up to one-third of patients never tell their physician about symptoms, and fewer than half of general physicians routinely ask.

"ABI measurement may be appropriate for screening stroke/TIA patients who may be at high risk for vascular events," said lead researcher Souvik Sen, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "The test is easily performed in less than 15 minutes at the physician's office or at bed-side in hospitalized patients."

Source: American Heart Association (news : web)

Explore further: Research shows that bacteria survive longer in contact lens cleaning solution than thought

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The Medical Minute--What is vascular disease?

Apr 09, 2008

In simplest terms, “vascular” is a word that refers to blood vessels, those little tubes called arteries and veins that carry blood throughout the body. Health professionals often describe blood vessels based on their ...

Recommended for you

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

17 hours ago

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'

These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...