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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care
NEUROLOGIC EMERGENCY SMART 2002 Milan, May 29-31, 2002
Minerva Anestesiologica 2002 April;68(4):273-7
Stroke patients, what to do and what to avoid
Della Corte F., Vignazia G. L., Cavaglià M., La Mura F., Pelosi G.
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale «Amedeo Avogadro» Cattedra di Anestesia e Rianimazione Ospedale Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italy
In Italy (130,000 new strokes in the general population per year) ischemic stroke is the third cause of death, after cardiovascular disease and neoplastic disease with a prevalence of 6.5%. Different physicians are involved in the emergent evaluation and treatment of the acute ischemic stroke. As other acute events, the initial evaluation must be addressed to assess the patient’s airway and breath-ing and cardiocirculatory conditions. The neurological examination must not be exhaustive and it should be completed in 5-10 minutes and a particular attention should be given to clinical findings leading to the suspect of an intracranial hemorrhages. A plain CT scan of the brain is the most important initial diagnostic study. Emergency therapy must be mainly directed to the correction of hypovolemia, hypoxia and the treatment of severe hypertension, hypoglicemia, intracranial hypertension and seizures. The goal is to achieve and to maintain an adequate cerebral perfusion by lowering the intracranial pressure (treating the cerebral oedema) and by increasing the mean arterial pressure, with an appropriate volemic expansion and/or with inotropic or vasopressor drugs. The thrombolitic therapy with intravenous recombinant tessutal plasminogen activator (r-TPA) when not specifically contraindicated, is recommended within 3 hours of onset of ischemic stroke. The benefit of intravenous r-TPA for acute ischemic stroke beyond 3 hours from the onset has never been proved.