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Prognostic factors for survival and stroke occurrence in patients with transient ischemic attacks


, : Prognostic factors for survival and stroke occurrence in patients with transient ischemic attacks. Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift 101(5): 160-166

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the natural course of patients with transient ischaemic attacks and to determine prognostic factors concerning long-term mortality and the incidence of stroke. 159 patients, who were hospitalized after transient ischaemic attacks at the Neurological University Department Vienna during the years 1976 to 1985, were asked about the further course of their illness using questionnaires. 22 patients had moved to unknown addresses and the return rate of th remaining questionnaires was 73.0%. Thus, the results of 100 patients were included in the present study. The follow-up period was 71 .+-. 32 months (x .+-. s; range: 19-135 months). During the follow-up period, 11 patients had died and 25 had eventually incurred full-blown cerebral infarction. The following variables were analyzed for their prognostic relevance with respect to long-term mortality and stroke occurrence: sex, age, vessel territory involved clinically, number of vessel territories involved clinically, number of strokes, and severity of clinical symptoms. The clinical symptoms (motor deficits, sensory deficits, speech disorders, visual field defects and organic mental syndrome) were graded semiquantitatively and added up to a "total score". Age had a significant influence on survival, but not on stroke occurrence. All other variables had no significant impact on long-term mortality and stroke occurrence. It is concluded that transient ischaemic attacks are warning symptoms of an inpending stroke. However, prognostic assumptions cannot be made of the basis of clinical features in this subacute stage. Thus, all patients suffering from transient ischaemic attacks should have a comprehsnsive and thorough vascular investigation as soon as possible.

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