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Surgery Is Not the Answer for Preventing All Strokes

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In an editorial accompanying the study, Louis R. Caplan, MD, argues that its findings underscore the need for thorough evaluations of patients who are at risk for stroke. "The main message of this article is that many patients have more than one potential cause of stroke. Doctors should try to identify all potential causes and treat those that can be treated," Caplan tells WebMD. "Don't necessarily stop the investigation when one suspect is found." Caplan is a neurologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

This research was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vital Information:

  • Surgeons can clean out clogged blood vessels in the neck to prevent a stroke, but a third of strokes are unrelated to these arteries.
  • Some experts are worried about ultrasounds that are advertised to examine these particular vessels, even though there are many other important factors in determining stroke risk.
  • Physicians should try to identify all potential causes of stroke and treat those that can be treated.
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