Ultrasound can predict heart risk after TIA

Washington: Ultrasound can predict a patient``s cardiovascular risk after a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a new study has revealed.

In an evaluation of transcranial (TCD) and extracranial (ECD) Doppler ultrasonography, researchers have shown that both future stroke and future cardiovascular ischemic events can be predicted by abnormal findings.

Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death on long-term follow-up after a TIA.

Dr. Holger Poppert from the Technische Universitat Munchen, Germany, and colleagues evaluated the ability of ultrasound to predict the likelihood of new vascular events in 176 TIA patients, with a median follow-up of 27 months.

"Nearly 40 percent of the patients with either stenoocclusive disease in ECD or pathological findings in TCD suffered a new ischemic stroke or TIA. Furthermore, detection of reactive collateral flow patterns or intracranial stenosis by TCD predicts new cardiovascular ischemic events on medium to long-term follow-up,” he said.

The researchers found that 5 of 18 patients with abnormal TCD findings, but only 4 of 134 patients without, developed a subsequent cardiovascular ischemic event.

Talking about the findings, Poppert said, "Our findings support the routine use of TCD in addition to ECD in TIA patients. Moreover, routine screening tests for coronary artery disease and aggressive prevention therapies should be considered in TIA patients with pathological TCD findings".

The study has been published in the open access journal BMC Medical Imaging.