Stroke researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania will be unveiling a map demonstrating the geographic “hot spots” of increased stroke mortality nationwide at the American Academy of Neurology’s 66th Annual Meeting, along with additional studies targeting gender disparities among stroke patients and a new app engineered to enhance acute stroke care.

According to the map, clusters of “hot spots”—representing counties where the mortality rate from stroke was as much as 40% higher than the national average and 1.5 times higher than mortality of patients in “cool spots”—were found in the southeastern United States. However these “hot spots” extended farther west and north than the conventionally defined “stroke belt,” researchers say.

In a university news release, the researchers also report isolated areas of low stroke mortality clustered with cool spots. The release adds that the researchers aim to identify hot spots that would benefit from targeted interventions in an effort to increase access to optimal stroke care, while accounting for population density, demographics, and existing healthcare resources.

A second study will assess stroke treatment disparities, in which researchers state that women are less likely to receive clot-busting recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) than men at both Primary Stroke Centers and non-Primary Stroke Centers, although the absolute difference was small, the release says.

The release notes that a third Penn stroke study, led by Claude Nguygen, MD, assistant professor of Clinical Neurology, spotlights a new smartphone app engineered to triage stroke patients more effectively. The app is intended to assist practitioners in performing multiple tasks simultaneously, to diagnose, treat, and even enroll patients into appropriate clinical trials. The app is compatible with iOS and Android devices, the release states, and assists with tracking important times such as symptom onset, arrival time at hospital, diagnostic image acquisition, rt-PA administration and more.

The idea for the app stems from Nguyen’s time as a stroke fellow at the University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center in Houston and is now being used by physicians, nurses, and research support at UT.

Photo Credit: Penn Medicine

Source: Penn Medicine