Patients who receive treatment quickly after suffering a minor stroke have less chance of suffering a major attack, a new study claims.
Researchers writing in The Lancet found that early initiation of treatment following a minor stroke or transient-ischaemic attack (TIA) reduces the risk of a subsequent serious episode by 80%.
The team led by Professor Peter Rothwell, of the Stroke Prevention Research Unit at Oxford University, looked at two groups of patients.
The first was assessed on average within three days and received their prescriptions on average within 20 days.
The second group was assessed and prescribed treatment one day after suffering a minor stroke.
The researchers found that the 90-day risk of recurrent stroke was cut by 80% in the second group of patients.
The authors concluded: "Our data indicate that urgent assessment and early initiation of a combination of existing preventative treatments can reduce risk of early recurrent stroke after TIA or minor stroke by about 80%.
"This equates to the prevention of nearly 10,000 strokes per year."
Joe Korner, from The Stroke Association, said: "It clearly shows that thousands of people could be saved from life shattering strokes every year simply by making sure that everyone who has a transient ischaemic attack or minor stroke gets currently available treatment quickly."