In the past we had come across a study revealing how smartphones could probably help in the quick diagnosis of appendicitis. Now scientists showcase a new web-based tool called Recurrence Risk Estimator at 90 days or RRE-90 score that may aid in the better prediction of a second stroke. This tool has been designed to foretell whether a person may suffer a second stroke within 90 days of a first stroke.

The study closely investigated information from 1,458 people who had experienced an ischemic stroke and were admitted to the hospital within 72 hours. Along with information about the participants’ medical history, the scientists also conducted their brain scans. Around 806 of these individuals were then followed up for three months.

It was observed that after the follow-up period 60 strokes had occurred. 30 strokes among these were found to have taken place within 14 days of the first stroke. At 14 days, it was found that the risk of recurrent stroke was nearly 2.6 percent and at 90 days, it was six percent.

“This is an important new tool because studies show that people who have a second stroke soon after a first stroke are more likely to die or have severe disability,” mentioned study author Hakan Ay, MD, with Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. “This tool can help doctors identify people who are at high risk of having another stroke and need immediate evaluation based on information typically available at the time of initial evaluation.”

The innovative tool was developed by scientists to adjudge an individual’s risk of having another stroke within three months. By looking at risk factors of stroke like history of mini-stroke, or transient ischemic attack (TIA), age and the type of first stroke experienced, along with information from brain scans, the RRE-90 allowed better prediction of stroke.

It showed that the higher the score, the higher the chances of a patient apparently experiencing a second stroke. Supposedly the 90-day risk was approximately 40 times greater in people with four or more stroke risk factors as compared to people without any risk factors. The study further revealed that more than 96 percent of patients who developed a second stroke exhibited signs of one or more risk factor.

“We currently don’t have a well-developed tool for predicting short-term risk of early recurrent stroke, so this tool could help improve stroke care and outcome,” Ay remarked. “For example, people at high risk of a second stroke can be immediately admitted to specialized stroke centers and given preventative treatment.”

Interestingly the study also uncovered that long-term predictors of stroke like smoking, diabetes and hypertension may not predict short-term strokes. Ay is of the opinion that the accuracy of the tool is yet to be confirmed before it can be implemented for general use.

The study has been published in the December 16, 2009, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.