Background. Acute ischaemic stroke is associated with alteration in systemic markers of vascular function. We measured forearm vascular function (using forearm flow mediated dilatation) to clarify whether recent acute ischaemic stroke/TIA is associated with impaired systemic vascular function. Methods. Prospective case control study enrolling 17 patients with recent acute ischaemic stroke/TIA and 17 sex matched controls with stroke more than two years previously. Forearm vascular function was measured using flow medicated dilatation (FMD). Results. Flow mediated dilatation was 6.0 1.1% in acute stroke/TIA patients and 4.7 1.0% among control subjects (p = 0.18). The mean paired difference in FMD between subjects with recent acute stroke and controls was 1.25% (95% CI -0.65, 3.14; p = 0.18). Endothelium independent dilatation was measured in six pairs of participants and was similar in acute stroke/TIA patients (22.6 4.3%) and control subjects (19.1 2.6%; p = 0.43). Conclusions. Despite the small size of this study, these data indicate that recent acute stroke is not necessarily associated with a clinically important reduction in FMD. 2010 Beer et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.