Acute stroke care and clinical outcomes have improved significantly at hospitals participating in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The GuidelinesStroke program, according to a large study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association.
To better characterize contemporary stroke patients and determine the impact of Get With The GuidelinesStroke participation, researchers analyzed several aspects of the first 1 million stroke patients at 1,392 hospitals participating in the quality improvement initiative from 2003 to 2009.
Each year more than 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke and another 200,000 to 500,000 present with a transient ischemic attack (TIA), often called a "warning stroke."
"We found that the opportunities to provide guideline-recommended care addressed by the performance measures were substantially met for stroke and TIA patients, with overall composite care improving substantially from 72 percent in 2003 to 93 percent in 2009," said Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., lead author of the study and professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles. "Stroke and TIA patients receiving all of the care measures for which they were eligible increased from 44 percent in 2003 to 84 percent in 2009."
Patients in the database were an average 70.1 years of age. Of all strokes analyzed, ischemic strokes (caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain) were the most common (60.2 percent), followed by TIAs (22.8 percent), intracerebral hemorrhages (10.9 percent), subarachnoid hemorrhages (3.5 percent) and unclassified strokes (2.7 percent).
In-hospital mortality was highest among patients suffering hemorrhagic strokes (caused by blood leaking into the brain tissue).
Hospital participation in Get With The GuidelinesStroke made the biggest impact on stroke death rates among the most common stroke types isc
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American Heart Association