Background: Aspirin is known to reduce stroke risk; however, its role in reducing severity of ischemic syndrome is not clear. We sought to investigate the relationship between antecedent aspirin use and stroke severity in patients presenting with acute ischemic stroke (AIS).
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a prospectively collected database of consecutive AIS patients presenting to our center. Clinical characteristics (including antecedent aspirin use), imaging findings, and laboratory data were assessed in association with presenting stroke severity, as measured by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS). Logistic regression models were used to determine univariate and multivariate predictors of baseline NIHSS.
Results: Of the 610 AIS patients with admission brain magnetic resonance imaging available for volumetric analysis of acute infarct size, 241 (39.5%) used aspirin prior to stroke onset. Antecedent aspirin use (P = .0005), history of atrial fibrillation (P < .0001), acute infarct volume (P < .0001), initial systolic blood pressure (P = .041), admission glucose level (P = .0027), and stroke subtype (P < .0001) were associated with presenting stroke severity in univariate analysis. Antecedent aspirin use (P < .0001), history of atrial fibrillation (P < .0002), acute infarct volume (P < .0001), systolic blood pressure (P = .038), and glucose level (P = .0095) remained independent predictors of NIHSS in multivariable analysis.
Conclusions: Antecedent aspirin use was independently associated with milder presenting stroke severity, even after accounting for acute infarct volume. While the underlying biology of this apparent protective relationship requires further study, patients at high risk of stroke may benefit from routine aspirin use.
Keywords: Brain infarction; aspirin; atrial fibrillation; blood pressure; glucose.
Copyright © 2016 National Stroke Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.