Diagnostic Testing for Coagulopathies in Patients With Ischemic Stroke
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Background—Hypercoagulable states are a recognized, albeit uncommon, etiology of ischemic stroke. It is unclear how often the results of specialized coagulation tests affect management. Using data compiled from a systematic review of available studies, we employed quantitative methodology to assess the diagnostic yield of coagulation tests for identification of coagulopathies in ischemic stroke patients.
Summary of Review—We performed a MEDLINE search to identify controlled studies published during 1966–1999 that reported the prevalence of deficiencies of protein C, protein S, antithrombin III, plasminogen, activated protein C resistance (APCR)/factor V Leiden mutation (FVL), anticardiolipin antibodies (ACL), or lupus anticoagulant (LA) in patients with ischemic stroke. The cumulative prevalence rates (pretest probabilities) and positive likelihood ratios for all studies and for those including only patients aged ≤50 years were used to calculate posttest probabilities for each coagulopathy, reflecting diagnostic yield. The cumulative pretest probabilities of coagulation defects in ischemic stroke patients are as follows: LA, 3% (8% for those aged ≤50 years); ACL, 17% (21% for those aged ≤50 years); APCR/FVL, 7% (11% for those aged ≤50 years); and prothrombin mutation, 4.5% (5.7% for those aged ≤50 years). The posttest probabilities of ACL, LA, and APCR increased with increasing pretest probability, the specificity of the tests, and features of the patients’ history and clinical presentation.
Conclusions—–The pretest probabilities of coagulation defects in ischemic stroke patients are low. The diagnostic yield of coagulation tests may be increased by using tests with the highest specificities and by targeting patients with clinical or historical features that increase pretest probability. Consideration of these data might lead to more rational ordering of tests and an associated cost savings.
- Received March 9, 2000.
- Revision received August 10, 2000.
- Accepted August 10, 2000.
- Copyright © 2000 by American Heart Association