Athens, Ga. Age has little to do with how patients should be treated after suffering a stroke, according to new research from the University of Georgia.
Historically, younger stroke victims receive different after-stroke intervention strategies than those over a certain age. However, Neale Chumbler, a UGA professor and head of the department of health policy and management in the College of Public Health, found patients responded equally to care efforts.
Looking at 127 Veterans Affairs medical centers and a sample of 3,196 patients treated for ischemic strokes, or strokes caused by blood clots, Chumbler studied patient response to care quality as outpatients and if the response changed based on age. To determine risk, he looked at depression symptoms, responses to blood thinning medications and average blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels over a period of six months after patients were released from the hospital following a stroke.
He found little difference in health quality across the patients regardless of age. The results of the study were published in the April issue of the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development.
"Watching these important risk indicators helps prevent future complications," he said. "We want to ensure patients don't suffer another stroke or heart attack."
Using the largest integrated medical system in the U.S., electronic data from the VA medical centers allowed researchers to control for stroke severity, patient socio-demographics and clinical- and facility-level characteristics through a hierarchical linear mixed modeling. Previous studies relied heavily on self-reported information.
"It is an integrated system with electronic medical records, which makes it a perfect laboratory for quality improvement research," he said.
According to the National Institutes of Health, two-thirds of all strokes occur in patients over the age of 65. B
|Contact: Neale Chumbler|
University of Georgia