Update on ischemic stroke

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Stroke is the second most common cause of death worldwide, exceeded only by heart disease. Epidemiologic studies have greatly enhanced our understanding of the factors that increase stroke risk. There have also been many recent developments in the understanding of the various etiologies of stroke as well as specific new treatments. The characteristic sudden onset and rapid tissue damage make stroke particularly challenging to treat. The most promising therapy for acute ischemic stroke is the use of a thrombolytic agent. This has been the focus of recent large trials and remains a challenging treatment for cerebral ischemic stroke as well as for retinal artery occlusion. Because neuro-ophthalmic symptoms and signs such as vision loss and diplopia are common in patients with stroke, patients are often seen by ophthalmologists prior to their primary care physicians or neurologists. The ophthalmologist should be aware of some of the new diagnostic and therapeutic issues in the management of patients with acute ischemic stroke. This review emphasizes some of the controversial topics published during the past few years.

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