The annual International Stroke Conference of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association was held from Feb. 19 to 21 in Los Angeles and attracted nearly 4,000 participants from around the world, including cerebrovascular research and practice experts. The conference featured more than 1,500 presentations that emphasized basic, clinical, and translational medicine and provided insight into the prevention, management, and treatment of stroke.
As part of the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) study, Ka-Ho Wong, of the University of Utah Health Hospitals and Clinics in Salt Lake City, and colleagues found that diabetic retinopathy increased the risk for ischemic stroke. This finding suggests, according to the investigators, that the microvascular pathology inherent to diabetic retinopathy may play a role in larger cerebrovascular implications.
The investigators followed 874 study participants with diabetes who developed diabetic retinopathy and 1,954 with diabetes who did not develop diabetic retinopathy. After five years of follow-up, the investigators found that diabetic retinopathy occurred more frequently in participants who experienced a stroke (41 percent) versus those who did not (30 percent). The investigators also found that after adjusting for multiple stroke risk factors, participants with diabetic retinopathy had a 60 percent higher risk for stroke than those with diabetes who did not present with diabetic retinopathy.
“Because diabetic retinopathy is more common in patients with uncontrollable diabetes, and diabetic retinopathy increases the risk of having a stroke, it is important for patients to maintain good control of their diabetes,” Wong said. “Patients with established diabetic retinopathy should pay particular attention to meeting all stroke prevention guidelines established by the American Heart Association.”
In another study, Kevin Sheth, M.D., of Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, and colleagues found that a novel, portable, low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system may be an effective way to provide brain imaging at a patient’s bedside.
The investigators evaluated 85 stroke patients using the novel MRI system and found that exam time averaged 30 minutes, with most patients completing the exam. Still, 11 patients were unable to complete the exam, as five patients could not fit in the MRI opening and six others could not complete the exam due to claustrophobia onset.
“We have, for the first time, deployed a portable MRI to the bedside of patients with stroke,” Sheth said. “Overall, this portable MRI opens the door for lots of possibilities regarding clinical practice, new research, and access to care.”
Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues found that Hispanic and black study participants had a higher risk for stroke compared with white study participants in northern Manhattan in New York State.
“The increased risk observed for Hispanics was particularly novel because the population was primarily of Caribbean descent, and most previous data on Hispanics has come from Mexican-Americans and we can’t necessarily generalize findings across Hispanic populations in the United States,” Gardener said. “We also found that the increased risk of stroke among Hispanics was substantially driven by socioeconomic disadvantage as well as risk factors like smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, diabetes, and cholesterol. We found that the increased risk of stroke among blacks and Hispanics was particularly strong among women age 70 and older.”
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