Introduction The relationship between on-treatment platelet reactivity and cerebral micro-embolic signals (MES) is unknown, and has not been previously simultaneously assessed in asymptomatic and symptomatic carotid stenosis patients. Methods Consecutive eligible patients with ≥ 50% asymptomatic or recently symptomatic carotid stenosis (≤ 4 weeks following TIA/ischaemic stroke) were recruited to this pilot study. Symptomatic patients were followed up to the ‘late’ phase (≥ 3 months) following symptom onset or carotid intervention; longitudinal data were analysed from symptomatic patients with data available at both time-points. Platelet function/reactivity was assessed with the PFA-100® to measure collagen-ADP (C-ADP) and collagen-epinephrine (C-EPI) closure times in citrate-anticoagulated whole blood. Bilateral simultaneous 1-hour transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD) monitoring of the middle cerebral arteries was performed to classify patients as MES + ve or MES − ve. Results 31 patients with ≥ 50% asymptomatic and 46 with early symptomatic carotid stenosis or occlusion were included. 35 symptomatic patients were followed up to the late phase (23 following carotid intervention). Prevalence of ‘high on-treatment platelet reactivity’ (HTPR) on the C-EPI cartridge did not differ between asymptomatic and symptomatic patients overall, but was lower in ‘symptomatic post-intervention’ than asymptomatic patients on aspirin monotherapy (10% vs. 50%; p = 0.03). The prevalence of HTPR on the C-EPI cartridge decreased between the early and late phases in symptomatic patients (63% vs. 34%; p = 0.017), including those on aspirin monotherapy (p = 0.016). There were no significant differences in HTPR status between asymptomatic vs. early or late symptomatic MES + ve or MES − ve patients. Discussion Carotid interventional treatment, presumably in combination with resolution of the acute phase response, may decrease the prevalence of HTPR in patients with recently symptomatic carotid stenosis over time. Preliminary subgroup analysis suggests that successful intervention may reduce the prevalence of aspirin-HTPR in symptomatic patients to lower levels than asymptomatic medically-treated patients on aspirin monotherapy. Larger, longitudinal studies are warranted to reassess the impact of more intensive secondary preventive treatment on ex vivo platelet function at different levels of shear stress in carotid stenosis patients.
- Carotid stenosis
- Cerebral microembolic signals
- Ischaemic stroke
- On-treatment platelet reactivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology