Treating High-Risk TIA and Minor Stroke Patients With Dual Antiplatelet Therapy: A National Survey of Emergency Medicine Physicians

Neurohospitalist. 2022 Jan;12(1):13-18. doi: 10.1177/19418744211022190. Epub 2021 Jun 3.


Background: Treatment with aspirin plus clopidogrel, dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT), within 24 hours of high-risk transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke symptoms to eligible patients is recommended by national guidelines. Whether or not this treatment has been adopted by emergency medicine (EM) physicians is uncertain.

Methods: We conducted an online survey of EM physicians in the United States. The survey consisted of 13 multiple choice questions regarding physician characteristics, practice settings, and usual approach to TIA and minor stroke treatment. We report participant characteristics and use chi-squared tests to compare between groups.

Results: We included 162 participants in the final study analysis. 103 participants (64%) were in practice for >5 years and 96 (59%) were at nonacademic centers; all were EM board-certified or board-eligible. Only 9 (6%) participants reported that they would start DAPT for minor stroke and 8 (5%) reported that they would start DAPT after high-risk TIA. Aspirin alone was the selected treatment by 81 (50%) participants for minor stroke patients who presented within 24 hours of symptom onset and were not candidates for thrombolysis. For minor stroke, 69 (43%) participants indicated that they would defer medical management to consultants or another team. Similarly, 75 (46%) of participants chose aspirin alone to treat high-risk TIA; 74 (46%) reported they would defer medical management after TIA to consultants or another team.

Conclusion: In a survey of EM physicians, we found that the reported rate of DAPT treatment for eligible patients with high-risk TIA and minor stroke was low.

Keywords: acute ischemic stroke; minor stroke; survey; transient ischemic attack.