Background: Inflammation and inflammatory biomarkers play an important role in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Little information is available, however, on time course of serum markers of inflammation after stroke.
Methods: First ischemic stroke patients > or =40 years old had levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), serum amyloid A (SAA), and fibrinogen measured in plasma samples drawn at 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days after stroke. Levels were log-transformed as needed, and parametric and non-parametric statistical tests were used to test for evidence of a trend in levels over time. Levels of hsCRP and SAA were also compared with levels in a comparable population of stroke-free participants.
Results: Mean age of participants with repeated measures (n = 21) was 65.6 +/- 11.6 years, and 13 (61.9%) were men, and 15 (71.4%) were Hispanic. Approximately 75% of patients (n = 15) had mild strokes (NIH Stroke Scale score 0-5). There was no evidence of a time trend in levels of hsCRP, SAA, or fibrinogen for any of the markers during the 28 days of follow-up. Mean log(hsCRP) was 1.67 +/- 1.07 mg/L (median hsCRP 6.48 mg/L) among stroke participants and 1.00 +/- 1.18 mg/L (median 2.82 mg/L) in a group of 1176 randomly selected stroke-free participants from the same community (p = 0.0252).
Conclusion: Levels of hsCRP are higher in stroke patients than in stroke-free subjects. Levels of inflammatory biomarkers associated with atherosclerosis, including hsCRP, appear to be stable for at least 28 days after first ischemic stroke.