Background: Ischemic stroke in young adults is a major health problem being associated with a higher vascular morbidity and mortality compared to controls, and a stroke recurrence rate of 25% during the first decade. The assumed cause of infarction and the detected risk factors determine the early- and long-term treatment. However, for many patients the cause of stroke remains unknown. Risk factor profile and etiology differ in young and elderly ischemic stroke patients, and atherosclerosis is the determined underlying condition in 10 to 15%. However, subclinical atherosclerosis is probably more prevalent and may go unrecognized.
Methods/design: NOR-SYS is a prospective long-term research program. Standardized methods are used for anamnestic, clinical, laboratory, imaging, and ultrasound data collection in ischemic stroke patients aged ≤60 years, their partners and joint adult offspring. The ultrasound protocol includes the assessment of intracranial, carotid and femoral arteries, abdominal aorta, and the estimation of VAT. To date, the study is a single centre study with approximately 400 patients, 250 partners and 350 adult offspring expected to be recruited at our site.
Discussion: NOR-SYS aims to increase our knowledge about heredity and the development of arterial vascular disease in young patients with ischemic stroke and their families. Moreover, optimization of diagnostics, prophylaxis and early intervention are major targets with the intention to reduce stroke recurrence and other clinical arterial events, physical disability, cognitive impairment and death.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01597453.