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Stroke risk and critical carotid stenosis.
  1. J W Norris,
  2. C Z Zhu
  1. Stroke Research Unit, Sunnybrook Medical Centre, University of Toronto, Canada.

    Abstract

    The risk of stroke from carotid stenosis is proportionate to the degree of stenosis, but whether this is a direct and linear relationship is unknown. Using the degree of carotid stenosis in 500 patients with asymptomatic carotid bruits as a continuous variable, we plotted the frequency distribution and related this to the risk of ischaemic cerebral events and the progression of the arterial lesion. There was a bi-modal distribution, with the junction of the two populations at 85% stenosis. The frequency of ischaemic cerebral events was maximal at 75-90% stenosis. Our data suggest that there is a critical degree of carotid stenosis at which stroke risk becomes maximal. This may represent a window of therapeutic opportunity.

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