An improved scoring system for identifying patients at high early risk of stroke and functional impairment after an acute transient ischemic attack or minor stroke

Int J Stroke. 2008 Feb;3(1):3-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-4949.2008.00182.x.


Background: Risk of a subsequent stroke following an acute transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke is high. The ABCD(2) tool was proposed as a method to triage these patients using five clinical factors. Modern imaging of the brain was not included. The present study quantified the added value of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) factors to the ABCD(2) tool.

Methods: Patients with TIA or minor stroke were examined within 12 h and had a brain MRI within 24 h of symptom onset. Primary outcomes were recurrent stroke and functional impairment at 90 days. A new tool, ABCD(2)+MRI, was created by adding diffusion-weighted imaging lesion and vessel occlusion status to the ABCD(2) tool. The predictive accuracy of both tools was quantified by the area under the curve (AUC).

Results: One hundred and eighty patients were enrolled and 11.1% had a recurrent stroke within 90 days. The predictive accuracy of the ABCD(2)+MRI was significantly higher than ABCD(2) (AUC of 0.88 vs. 0.78, P=0.01). Those with a high score (7-9) had a 90-day recurrent stroke risk of 32.1%, moderate score (5-6) risk of 5.4%, and low score (0-4) risk of 0.0%. The ABCD(2) tool did not predict risk of functional impairment at 90 days (P=0.33), unlike the ABCD(2)+MRI (P=0.02): high score (22.9%), moderate (7.5%), low (7.7%).

Conclusions: Risk of recurrent stroke and functional impairment after a TIA or minor stroke can be accurately predicted by a scoring system that utilizes both clinical and MRI information. The ABCD(2)+MRI score is simple and its components are commonly available during the time of admission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure
  • Brain Ischemia / complications
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis*
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / classification
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome