Study objective: To determine the proportion of patients in a large metropolitan population who developed ischemic stroke despite having received antiplatelet drug therapy, and their associated characteristics and in-hospital outcomes.
Design: Retrospective, cross-sectional study.
Setting: Eleven hospitals in western New York State.
Patients: One thousand five hundred eighty-two patients with new or recurrent ischemic stroke who were admitted to one of the 11 study hospitals between January 1 and December 31, 2000, and for whom data were available regarding previous drug therapy.
Measurements and main results: The proportion of patients taking antiplatelet drugs before the onset of stroke was determined. Demographic and clinical characteristics, stroke subtypes, in-hospital bleeding complications, mortality, and discharge drugs were compared between patients with and those without previous antiplatelet drug use. Previous use of antiplatelet drugs was observed in 642 (41%) of the 1582 patients admitted with ischemic stroke. The antiplatelet drugs were aspirin alone (494 patients), clopidogrel alone (70), aspirin and clopidogrel (36), aspirin in combination with other antiplatelet drugs (20), and others (22). Patients with previous use of antiplatelet drugs were older and more likely to have hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and a history of cardiovascular disease. The proportion of patients with large-vessel disease was greater among patients with previous use of antiplatelet drugs. Patients with previous use of antiplatelet drugs were more likely to be discharged with aspirin, clopidogrel, and an aspirin-dipyridamole combination.
Conclusion: The relatively high proportion of patients who developed ischemic stroke despite taking antiplatelet drugs observed in this regional hospital-based study mandates clinical trials specifically addressing therapeutic intervention for this group of patients.