What is the role of anticoagulants in the treatment and prevention of stroke?

Updated: Dec 18, 2018
  • Author: Salvador Cruz-Flores, MD, MPH, FAHA, FCCM, FAAN, FACP, FANA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Anticoagulation is the controlled therapeutic inhibition of blood clotting by means of appropriate drugs (ie, anticoagulants). The role of anticoagulants in the treatment of cerebral ischemia has changed. For many years, anticoagulation was used routinely in acute ischemic stroke. However, in the past 2 decades, randomized, controlled studies have helped to better define the role of anticoagulants in the acute treatment and prevention of stroke. In addition, several new oral and parenteral anticoagulants are in different stages of clinical trials for use in the prophylaxis of ischemic thromboembolic stroke.

For more information, see Hemorrhagic Stroke, Ischemic Stroke, Acute Management of Stroke and Mechanical Thrombolysis in Acute Stroke.

See also Acute Stroke, a Critical Images slideshow, for more information on incidence, presentation, intervention, and additional resources.


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