Special Team Enhances Mini Stroke Outcomes

Mini stroke patients who receive specialized hospital care less likely to experience vascular events

(RxWiki News) For patients who have suffered a mini stroke, a specialized hospital-based care team featuring nurse-led counseling may be the way to improve health while reducing the risk of future vascular events.

Patients who suffered a transient ischemic attack, also known as a mini stroke, were significantly less likely to experience a vascular event such as a blood clot or aneurysm in the year after the mini stroke when receiving care from the specialized hospital team.

"Talk to your physician about the best treatment after a mini stroke."

Dr. Paul von Weitzel-Mudersbach, the lead author from the department of neurology at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, said that the study's aim was to determine whether patients had better clinical outcomes when under the care of a specialized team able to integrate outpatient care, stroke unit facilities and provide counseling led by a nurse.

Researchers studied 306 patients admitted to Aarhus University Hospital with a transient ischemic attack, who were followed for a year. They found that when patients were treated by an acute team designated to treating mini strokes, their risk of having another stroke within the first seven days was 65 percent lower than expected, with that risk falling to 74 percent at the 90-day mark. This is significant because having a mini stroke carries a high short-term risk of having an ischemic stroke.

The patients had been referred directly to the program by their family doctor or by ambulance, and bypassed the emergency department altogether. Those that had suffered a mini stroke within the preceding 48 hours or those who reported multiple transient ischemic strokes were admitted to the stroke unit, where patients were able to be given drugs to break up clots if needed. Patients who were not hospitalized were seen in the hospital's outpatient department within three days of referral.

All the patients seen by the team received acute treatment with antithrombotic and cholesterol lowering drugs and were offered fast-track surgery if they had carotid stenosis. Follow-up services included nurse-conducted health counseling after seven days, 90 days and one year, with a secondary focus on medication compliance and smoking cessation.

Researchers found that 95 percent of patients completed at least one secondary prevention measure such as reducing their blood pressure, lowering their cholesterol, quitting smoking and adherence to taking medication. Nearly half of patients followed at least three prevention measures.

The study was recently published in the November issue of the European Journal of Neurology.

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Review Date: 
October 28, 2011