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One in eight strokes preceded by 'warning stroke'

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One out of every eight strokes is preceded by a ‘warning stroke’, latest study results suggest.

Canadian researchers studied all the people who had a stroke at hospitals in Ontario over four years. Of the 16,400 patients identified as having a stroke, 2,032 - or 12.4 per cent - had a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) prior to the stroke.

Those who had a TIA before having a stroke were more likely to be older than those who did not, and to have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems, the researchers said.

“These results illustrate the need for better risk assessment tools for preventing strokes before they occur. Other studies have shown that up to 80 per cent of strokes after TIA can be prevented when risk factors are managed intensively,” they said.

The study also found that patients who did not have a TIA prior to the stroke were likely to have a more serious stroke than those who did.

Those with no warning stroke were more likely to die while in hospital – 15.2 per cent compared to 12.7 per cent – and also more likely to have a cardiac arrest while in hospital – 4.8 per cent compared to 3.1 per cent.

“It’s possible that the blood vessels of those with warning strokes were preconditioned to the lack of blood flow, which protected them from the full result of the larger stroke,” the researchers said in the journal Neurology.

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