Indexed on: 23 Jan '16Published on: 23 Jan '16Published in: Clinical kidney journal
Stroke is the second most common cause of death and the leading cause of neurological disability worldwide, with huge economic costs and tragic human consequences. Both chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease are associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke. However, to date this has generated far less interest compared with the better-recognized links between cardiac and renal disease. Common risk factors for stroke, such as hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, smoking and atrial fibrillation, are shared with the general population but are more prevalent in renal patients. In addition, factors unique to these patients, such as disorders of mineral and bone metabolism, anaemia and its treatments as well as the process of dialysis itself, are all also postulated to further increase the risk of stroke. In the general population, advances in medical therapies mean that effective primary and secondary prevention therapies are available for many patients. The development of specialist stroke clinics and acute stroke units has also improved outcomes after a stroke. Emerging therapies such as thrombolysis and thrombectomy are showing increasingly beneficial results. However, patients with CKD and on dialysis have different risk profiles that must be taken into account when considering the potential benefits and risks of these treatments. Unfortunately, these patients are either not recruited or formally excluded from major clinical trials. There is still much work to be done to harness effective stroke treatments with an acceptable safety profile for patients with CKD and those on dialysis.