Dipartimento Biomedico di Medicina Interna e Specialistica, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy.
Stroke is the second cause of death worldwide and one of the leading cause of disability. Due to the high rate of recurrence, in high risk-patients (eg patients affected by atherosclerotic vascular disease), long-term antiplatelet therapy reduces the risk of vascular events such as non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, or vascular death. The percentage of reduction of the events can be estimated in approximately 25%. These data justify the directions that are given to us by the current guidelines for prevention of secondary stroke, which recommend the broad use of antiplatelet therapy both for the secondary prevention of stroke in patients with a history of non-cardioembolic stroke or TIA.
As for the primary prevention indications are less accurate because the absolute benefi ts of aspirin in reducing the happening of vascular events, are generally much lower than in secondary prevention.
Although several trials have been investigated use of antiplatelet drugs in ischemic stroke patients, ascertaining the sure benefit, especially in secondary prevention in non-cardioembolic stroke, various issues remains unclarified, and new questions raises with the analysis of the results of available trials.