Biomarkers May Help in Identifying Stroke Risk

January 19, 2009
Sean Johnson

Researchers have recently determined two proteins or biomarkers "that occur when inflammation is present could help doctors identify which patients are more likely to have a stroke."

Baylor College of Medicine researchers have recently determined two proteins or biomarkers “that occur when inflammation is present could help doctors identify which patients are more likely to have a stroke.” Their findings are discussed in a report that appears online in the journal Stroke.

According to the study, the biomarkers—lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)—are “known to be associated with an increased risk of the kind of stroke that occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked.” The 949 participants in the study were also taking part in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, which is designed to investigate the causes and course of atherosclerosis. Out of this group, 183 suffered from a stroke, and “when they looked at the blood test results for the patients in the study, they found that testing for the two inflammation biomarkers helped obtain a better picture of the risk of stroke for each patient.”

Dr. Vijay Nambi, assistant professor of medicine-atherosclerosis and vascular medicine at BCM and staff cardiologist, Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, said that adding the biomarkers individually to traditional risk factors, such as age, race, sex, blood pressure, diabetes, and whether or not a person smokes, improved prediction of stroke, and also added that adding both factors “gave the most improvement in prediction.”

Researchers are now discussing whether to set a scale similar to that of patients who are at risk for a heart attack. “Being able to determine who is in more danger of stroke could eventually lead to more tailored treatment and preventative options,” said Nambi.

To read more about this study, click here.