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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 167-171

Stroke in patients with chronic kidney disease…: How do we approach and manage it?

Department of Nephrology, K. S. Hegde Medical Academy Medical Sciences Complex, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
S Nayak-Rao
Department of Nephrology, K. S. Hegde Medical Academy Medical Sciences Complex, Derlakatte, Mangalore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-4065.202405

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Renal failure is a potent risk factor for stroke, which is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The risk of stroke is 5–30 times higher in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), especially on dialysis. Case fatality rates are also higher reaching almost 90%. It is therefore important to understand the factors that predispose to stroke in this vulnerable population to better apply preventive strategies. The heightened risk of stroke in CKD represents the interplay of the vascular co-morbidities that occur with renal impairment and factors specific to renal failure such as malnutrition-inflammation-atherosclerosis complex, the effect of uremic toxins, dialysis techniques, vascular access, and the use of anticoagulants to maintain flow in the extracorporeal circuit. Old age, hypertension, diabetes, and previous cerebrovascular disease are all risk factors for stroke with the period of dialysis initiation constituting the highest risk period for developing new stroke. Patients with CKD-stage 3–5 have worse survival and diminished functional outcomes following stroke. Thrombolytic therapy for stroke in CKD has shown an increased risk of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage or serious systemic hemorrhage, and the therapeutic effects may be attenuated. Benefit of statin therapy in dialysis patient as preventive therapy has not been shown to be beneficial. Control of hypertension and the judicious use of antiplatelet agents form the mainstay of stroke prevention. The benefit of antiplatelet therapies and oral anticoagulants has to be balanced against the real and increased risk of bleeding that is most evident in dialysis cohorts. An increased risk of vascular calcification particularly intracerebral vascular calcification has been seen in patientsreceiving warfarin as prophylaxis in atrial fibrillation. Newer anticoagulants have not been tested in patients with glomerular filtration rate <30 ml/min and hence have to be used with caution. This article is a review of stroke in patients with CKD and approach to managing it.


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Indian Journal of Nephrology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 20th Sept '07