Stroke or a 'brain attack' as it is often called, occurs due to sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain. It can happen to anyone at any time and is a medical emergency. Ischemic strokes are reportedly responsible for about 85% of all stroke cases. Scientists say that a common blood test which has been used till date to assess the risk of coronary heart disease in patients could now also be used to predict the risk for developing a second ischemic stroke. Results of the study have been published online in the journal Neurology.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is an enzyme which is produced by the liver in response to inflammation, thus a high level of CRP indicates an inflammatory process occurring in the body. Measurement of this enzyme in blood has been used to evaluate the risk of developing kidney failure, pancreatitis and even coronary artery disease or heart disease.
‘Ischemic strokes are reportedly responsible for about 85% of all stroke cases and elevated CRP levels could be a marker to detect the increased risk of second stroke.’
AdvertisementOne of the researchers Stephen Williams from Department of Neurology and the Center for Public Health in University of Virginia School of Medicine, is of the opinion that a patient who already has had a stroke in the past is at a very high risk to have another stroke.
He further stated, "So it's really important to be able to try and target those individuals who are at the highest risk for the thing that very well may kill them."
A CRP test is relatively inexpensive which primarily needs only a blood sample and can be done along with other routine blood work. There is no need of any biopsy of any sort to measure the levels of CRP.
To better understand the role of CRP in ischemic stroke, Williams and his colleagues also studied how genes affect the levels of CRP in our blood. Williams was of the opinion that there is a "shared genetic susceptibility" for enhanced C-reactive protein and also for a greater susceptibility to stroke.
The team of scientists was able to estimate the hazard ratio i.e., the increased risk for having a second stroke based on the genetic profile of the patient.
The authors concluded that elevated CRP levels could be a marker increased risk of stroke. They were also able to identify the gene variations that predisposed a person to those risks.