Stroke continues to be the most common life-threatening neurologic disease and the third leading cause of death in the USA, after heart disease and cancer. It remains the most common neurological cause for hospital admission. Approximately 500,000 new or recurrent strokes occur every year in this country. It accounts for over 150,000 fatalities each year. Stroke is also the leading cause of intellectual and physical disability in adults and the most common cause of institutionalization for long-term care. It is estimated that there are over 3,000,000 stroke survivors, many of whom require chronic care. The economic costs of stroke due to healthcare expenses and lost productivity are estimated to be nearly $20 billion .
Ischemic stroke accounts for approximately 80% of all strokes, with the remainder being hemorrhagic strokes, with its different subtypes. This chapter will discuss the medical and surgical management of ischemic stroke, taking into consideration what is known about the pathophysiology of this condition. The focus will be on the knowledge acquired from basic science and clinical research, as well as the results of rigorous clinical trials which have helped to establish guidelines, which, in turn, have had an effect on the outcome of patients afflicted with this devastating condition.
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