Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background and purposeOutcome prognostication in ischemic stroke patients remains challenging due to limited predictive properties of existing models. Blood-based biomarkers might provide additional information to established prognostic factors. We intended to identify the most promising prognostic biomarkers in ischemic stroke, their incremental prognostic value, and whether their predictive value differs among etiologies.MethodsWe searched MEDLINE (Ovid) and Institute for Scientific Information Web of Knowledge for articles reporting the predictive performance of blood-based biomarkers measured up to 7 days after ischemic stroke and reporting functional outcome or death at least 7 days after stroke. This work updates a previous systematic review (up to January 2007), follows the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement and was registered (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews PROSPERO 2018;; Unique identifier: CRD42018094671).ResultsTwo hundred ninety-one articles published between January 2007 and August 2018 comprising 257 different biomarkers met inclusion criteria. Median sample size was 232 (interquartile range, 110-455); 260 (89%) articles reported regression analyses with 78% adjusting for stroke severity, 82% for age, 67% for both, and 9% for none of them; 37% investigated discrimination, 5% calibration, and 11% reclassification. Including publications from a previous systematic review (1960-January 2007), natriuretic peptides, copeptin, procalcitonin, mannose-binding lectin, adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein, and cortisol were the biomarkers most consistently associated with poor outcome in higher-quality studies showing an incremental value over established prognostic factors. Other biomarkers were less consistently associated with poor outcome or were reported in lower quality studies. High heterogeneity among studies precluded the performance of a meta-analysis.ConclusionsThe number of reports on prognostic blood-based biomarkers in ischemic stroke increased 3.5-fold in the period January 2007 to August 2018. Although sample size increased, methodological flaws are still common. Natriuretic peptides and markers of inflammation, atherogenesis, and stress response are the most promising prognostic biomarkers among identified studies.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





543 - 551


Institute of Clinical Epidemiology and Biometry (F.A.M., K.U., P.U.H.), University of Würzburg, Germany.


Animals, Humans, Natriuretic Peptides, Prognosis, Biomarkers, Ischemic Stroke