The classification, epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of ischemic cerebrovascular disease (ischemic stroke) are reviewed, and the major drugs used in the prevention of this disease are discussed. Ischemic stroke is a major problem in terms of morbidity and mortality because of the high prevalence of atherosclerosis in the United States population. The pathogenesis of cerebral ischemia is multifactorial, beginning with an atherosclerotic plaque on the arterial wall that may result in stenosis or ulceration with subsequent thrombosis or embolization. Platelets may adhere to the exposed arterial wall endothelium, stimulating further platelet aggregation and accumulation of leukocytes and fibrin. Consequences of cerebral ischemia include transient ischemic attacks and brain infarcts. Diagnosis is based mainly on patient history and ancillary radiologic studies. Treatment of ischemic cerebrovascular disease is primarily preventive, since the brain has limited capacity to recover neurologic function after an infarction. Transient ischemic attacks are treated with either antiplatelet agents, anticoagulants, or surgery. Treatment of stroke is also preventive, although anticoagulation is sometimes used to prevent stroke progression. Agents that may reverse neurologic impairment following an acute stroke, such as prostacyclin, calcium-channel blockers, and opiate antagonists, are being investigated. Antiplatelet therapy is indicated in subsets of patients with cerebral vascular insufficiency. Anticoagulation therapy, if needed, should be given for only three to four months.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1987|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science