The role of hyperglycemia in acute ischemic stroke


Stroke remains a leading cause of death and long-term disability in the developed world. Reperfusion and anti-thrombotic therapies are of limited benefit for the majority of patients following acute ischemic stroke, and increasing interest has focused on therapeutic approaches that seek to modulate infarct evolution. Animal and human studies have linked hyperglycemia in the acute phase of ischemic stroke to worse clinical outcomes regardless of the presence of pre-existing diabetes mellitus. Experimental data suggest that elevated blood glucose may directly contribute to infarct expansion through a number of maladaptive metabolic pathways, and that treatment with insulin may attenuate these adverse effects. In this review, we analyze the relationship between elevated serum glucose and acute cerebrovascular ischemia, and critically appraise the potential of a clinical strategy that targets euglycemia in all acute stroke patients.

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Correspondence to Latha G. Stedd.

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Gilmore, R.M., Stedd, L.G. The role of hyperglycemia in acute ischemic stroke. Neurocrit Care 5, 153–158 (2006).

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Key Words

  • Hyperglycemia
  • stroke, insulin, diabetes mellitus