A new study conducted at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, indicates that patients who were referred to a stroke prevention clinic (SPC) following a mild stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) experienced a 26% reduction in 1-year mortality compared to those who were not referred. 

To obtain the study’s findings, researchers say they utilized data from the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network and compared 16,000 patients with ischemic stroke or TIA that were seen in the emergency department or admitted to the hospital in Ontario between July 1, 2003 and March 1, 2008. 

Vladimir Hachinski, MD, professor in the department of clinical neurological sciences at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, scientist with the Ontario-based Lawson Health Research Institute, led the study. Hachinski emphasizes the effectiveness of organized stroke care. Hachiniski also says that the concept of size, location, and hours of clinics does not matter. “Patients benefit because you have interested people with some expertise, following the best practice standards and gaining experience from doing things repeatedly,” Hachinski says.

According to researchers, the risk of stroke following a TIA may be as high as 20% in the first 3 months. Half of strokes reportedly occur in the first 24 hours to 48 hours after a TIA. Organized inpatient care has exhibited a reduction in morbidity and mortality among patients, yet the study suggests that there are key benefits in organized outpatient stroke prevention clinics as well. The SPCs provide patients who have experienced a recent TIA or non-disabling stroke with early assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.

Fiona Webster, first author of the study, education scientist/assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto, Canada, adds, “This study provides important evidence that referral to a SPC reduces mortality. The basic underlying principle of our study is that organized care, even with staggered models, makes a positive difference at all levels.”

Source: University of Western Ontario