(OTTOWA, Ontario) -- A good deal of medical research is dedicated to preventing illness rather than only treating illness once it occurs. Now, there's news about one prediction tool for strokes that doesn't seem to be working.
Many people experience a mini-stroke, usually caused by a temporary blood clot that is quickly resolved and causes little if any long-lasting effects. However, these people are at an increased risk of a subsequent stroke that could have devastating consequences. Physicians commonly use a risk assessment tool called the ABCD2 score to identify people at high risk of such subsequent strokes.
However, doctors at the University of Ottawa in Canada have found that the ABCD2 tool is not very specific and therefore not clinically useful.
In a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, doctors found that the screening tool, when used according to the recommendations of the American Heart Association, did identify virtually all of the patients who had a stroke within three months after the mini-stroke. But the tool also predicted that most of the patients would have a stroke, even though a large majority did not. The authors say that doctors who followed such a risk assessment would end up "requiring almost all patients to have rapid investigations or be admitted to [a] hospital."
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