See also “Guidelines Urge New Approach to Treating Worst Strokes” (American Heart Association).
Therapeutic management of stroke encompasses a broad scope of prophylactic, palliative and curative treatment modalities that are typically employed in some combinations during the preventive, acute and rehabilitation phases of stroke-related care delivery.
Historically, prevention has been universally regarded as the best form of medicine for dealing with any disease. This old wisdom is especially true in management of acute stroke, which represents a catastrophic event with a largely predetermined clinical progression and outcome that stem from the patient’s preexisting pathologies and can be only marginally altered with available emergent therapies.
Presently, the commonly accepted strategy of primary and secondary stroke prevention is focused on elimination or remedying of the modifiable risk factors that have been shown to create a general predisposition or directly contribute to the onset of acute cerebral ischemia or/and hemorrhage.
Within the context of general population, this strategy is targeting alleviation of certain lifestyle risk factors (such as smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, high-fat diet etc.), which could contribute to the development of cardiovascular and other pathologies associated with increased propensity to stroke.
In patient caseloads with preexisting medical conditions (AFib, mechanical prosthetic valves, recent AMI, stoke or TIA, hypertension, diabetes, etc.) which are characterized by a high risk of adverse vascular events potentially leading to stroke, preventive strategy is focused on reducing such risks via a strict control and monitoring of corresponding hemostatic and hemodynamic parameters.
Finally, in persons with diagnosed cerebrovascular pathologies (high grade carotid stenosis, intracranial aneurysms and AVMs) the first line preventive therapy involves their repair or eradication, when technically possible.
The scope of FDA-approved medical and interventional modalities commonly employed in preventive management of stroke includes oral anticoagulation, antiplatelet, and lipid-lowering drug therapies, cerebral aneurysm and AVM repair surgery, carotid endarterectomy, stereotactic radiosurgery, as well as endovascular embolization of intracranial aneurysms and AVMs, carotid artery stenting with embolic protection, left atrial appendage closure, along with rarely used and likely to be abandoned intracranial stenting.
Global Projected Dynamics of Cerebral Endovascular Embolization Procedures 2013-2019 (#000)
Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #C310, “Emerging Global Market for Neurointerventional Technologies in Stroke, 2014-2019.”
In contrast to causes-oriented therapies used in stroke prevention, therapeutic modalities employed in the emergent management of acute stroke are focused almost exclusively on patients’ cardiopulmonary and hemodynamic support and ad hoc containment of dangerous complications and corresponding brain damage associated with stroke.