Studies reveal that the risk of silent strokes in older people increases after having non-cardiac surgery

A study published in The Lancet in mid-August argued that the risk of covert or silent stroke in older people increases after having non-cardiac surgery.

Myupchar August 28, 2019 15:37:26 IST
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Studies reveal that the risk of silent strokes in older people increases after having non-cardiac surgery
  • According to the Indian Stroke Association, about 17 million people worldwide suffer a stroke - 6.2 million of them die

  • A study published in The Lancet in mid-August argued that the risk of covert or silent stroke in older people increases after having non-cardiac surgery

  • Their findings: about 7% of the patients had a perioperative (performed at or around the time of operation) covert stroke

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in India. Instances of stroke have doubled in the last few decades in developing countries, including India. According to the Indian Stroke Association, about 17 million people worldwide suffer a stroke - 6.2 million of them die.

A study published in well-regarded science journal The Lancet in mid-August argued that the risk of covert or silent stroke in older people increases after having non-cardiac surgery.

Studies reveal that the risk of silent strokes in older people increases after having noncardiac surgery

Representative image. Image source: Pixabay

The findings were published in an open-access article 'Perioperative covert stroke in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery (NeuroVISION): a prospective cohort study'. A cohort or cross-sectional study looks at a wide range of people across gender, race, class and geographies.

Stroke is a medical emergency in which blood supply to the brain gets cut off by a blood clot in the arteries.

The findings

The NeuroVISION study followed the progress of 1,114 patients who elected to participate between 24 March 2014 and 21 July 2017.

Conducted across 12 academic centres in nine countries, the study assessed patients who were 65-years-old and above, and who had undergone non-cardiac surgery. The researchers used brain MRIs after surgery and at the one-year follow-up examination to compare results.

Their findings: about 7% of the patients had a perioperative (performed at or around the time of operation) covert stroke. Twenty-nine of the 69 patients who had a perioperative covert stroke, and came back for the one-year follow-on exam, showed a cognitive decline after surgery. Even among patients who had not suffered a perioperative covert stroke, the researchers observed a cognitive decline in 274 (29%) of 932 participants after one year.

What is a covert stroke?

Covert or silent stroke comes without any previous warnings or symptoms. Major causes include clotting of blood, narrowing of arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. People over 65 are more susceptible to these conditions as blood vessels can become rigid and narrow with age.

Having a stroke can lead to brain damage, disability or even death. Hence is important to take signs of stroke seriously and act immediately. If you live with someone older than 65, these timely steps can be a lifesaver:

  • Stroke can lead to loss of consciousness. Do not leave the patient alone. If necessary, ask someone else to call an ambulance. Rush the patient to the hospital.
  • Make sure that the patient is in a comfortable position.
  • In case of vomiting, help the patient by lifting and balancing their head.
  • Keep checking that they are breathing. Loosen the top button or dupatta. If required, give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Do not give the patient anything to eat or drink.
  • If required, cover the patient with a blanket.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. To know more on this topic, please visit https://www.myupchar.com/en/disease/stroke

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