Atherosclerotic vascular disease is the leading cause of ischemic stroke, resulting in occlusive or severely stenotic lesions of major intracranial or extracranial arteries and narrowing of small penetrating arteries of the brain. Atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries (ie, coronary artery disease) is an indirect cause of cardioembolic stroke secondary to myocardial infarction. Ischemic heart disease may also be complicated by atrial fibrillation and cardioembolic stroke. Prevention of recurrent stroke and other ischemic events, including myocardial infarction, is a key component of treatment for patients with symptomatic ischemic cerebrovascular disease. Prevention of recurrent stroke involves controlling those factors that promote the course of atherosclerosis, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, and smoking, as well as such local interventions as carotid endarterectomy and endovascular treatment. Nevertheless, administration of antiplatelet agents remains the core of management for preventing recurrent stroke and other cardiovascular events in at-risk patients
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