The diagnostic workup in patients with ischaemic stroke often includes testing for prothrombotic conditions. However, the clinical relevance of coagulation abnormalities in ischaemic stroke is uncertain. Therefore, we reviewed what is presently known about the association between inherited and acquired coagulation disorders and ischaemic stroke, with a special emphasis on the methodological aspects. Good-quality data in this field are scarce, and most studies fall short on epidemiological criteria for causal inference. While inherited coagulation disorders are recognised risk factors for venous thrombosis, there is no substantial evidence for an association with arterial ischaemic stroke. Possible exceptions are the prothrombin G20210A mutation in adults and protein C deficiency in children. There is proof of an association between the antiphospholipid syndrome and ischaemic stroke, but the clinical significance of isolated mildly elevated antiphospholipid antibody titres is unclear. Evidence also suggests significant associations of increased homocysteine and fibrinogen concentrations with ischaemic stroke, but whether these associations are causal is still debated. Data on other acquired coagulation abnormalities are insufficient to allow conclusions regarding causality. For most coagulation disorders, a causal relation with ischaemic stroke has not been definitely established. Hence, at present, there is no valid indication for testing all patients with ischaemic stroke for these conditions. Large prospective population-based studies allowing the evaluation of interactive and subgroup effects are required to appreciate the role of coagulation disorders in the pathophysiology of arterial ischaemic stroke and to guide the management of individual patients. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation

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International Journal of Stroke
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Lau, L., Leebeek, F., de Maat, M., Koudstaal, P., & Dippel, D. (2010). A review of hereditary and acquired coagulation disorders in the aetiology of ischaemic stroke. International Journal of Stroke (Vol. 5, pp. 385–394). doi:10.1111/j.1747-4949.2010.00468.x