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Mexican Americans less likely than whites to call 9-1-1 for stroke
Date:3/25/2010

Mexican Americans are 40 percent less likely than non-Hispanic whites to call 9-1-1 and be taken to the hospital via ambulance for stroke resulting in medical treatment delays according to a new study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

For the study, researchers used data from the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi, Texas (BASIC project) to compare hospital arrival time and use of ambulance or emergency medical services (EMS) by ethnicity, gender and language preference among 1,134 Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites who had ischemic strokes between 2000 and 2006. Subjects were ages 45 years and older; 53 percent Mexican American, 47 percent non-Hispanic white and 52 percent women.

The researchers found that 40 percent of Mexican Americans and 56 percent of whites called 9-1-1 to access EMS. Furthermore, 27 percent of Mexican Americans arrived at the hospital within three hours of stroke symptoms compared with 29 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

"We know calling 9-1-1 is important for getting prompt and appropriate treatment," said Lewis B. Morgenstern, M.D., senior study author. "In this study, less than half of people use EMS for stroke. That's sobering. Everyone should know we have effective treatments for stroke, so they must learn the symptoms and be motivated to call 9-1-1 if they occur."

The study also found that women, particularly Mexican-American women, were significantly less likely to arrive at the hospital within the crucial three-hour time frame when a clot-busting drug is approved for stroke treatment. The difference may be because women are more likely to live alone and may not be as aware of stroke symptoms, researchers said.

"Living alone is a very important aspect," said Morgenstern, director of the stroke program and professor of neurology, epidemiology, emergency medicine and neurosurgery at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. "Many people with stroke fall
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Contact: Tagni McRae
tagni.mcrae@heart.org
214-706-1383
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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