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Advance consent could allow individuals at high risk of stroke to provide consent before they might become eligible for enrollment in acute stroke trials. This survey explores the acceptability of this novel technique to Canadian Research Ethics Board (REB) chairs that review acute stroke trials. Responses from 15 REB chairs showed that majority of respondents expressed comfort approving studies that adopt advance consent. There was no clear preference for advance consent over deferral of consent, although respondents expressed significant concern with broad rather than trial-specific advance consent. These findings shed light on the acceptability of advance consent to Canadian ethics regulators.
Advance consent presents a potential solution to the challenge of obtaining informed consent for participation in acute stroke trials. Clinicians in stroke prevention clinics are uniquely positioned to identify and seek consent from potential stroke trial participants. To assess the acceptability of advance consent to Canadian stroke clinic physicians, we performed an online survey. We obtained 58 respondents (response rate 35%): the vast majority (82%) expressed comfort with obtaining advance consent and 92% felt that doing so would not be a significant disruption to clinic workflow. These results support further study of advance consent for acute stroke trials.
The 2020 update of the Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations (CSBPR) for the Secondary Prevention of Stroke includes current evidence-based recommendations and expert opinions intended for use by clinicians across a broad range of settings. They provide guidance for the prevention of ischemic stroke recurrence through the identification and management of modifiable vascular risk factors. Recommendations address triage, diagnostic testing, lifestyle behaviors, vaping, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, other cardiac conditions, antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapies, and carotid and vertebral artery disease. This update of the previous 2017 guideline contains several new or revised recommendations. Recommendations regarding triage and initial assessment of acute transient ischemic attack (TIA) and minor stroke have been simplified, and selected aspects of the etiological stroke workup are revised. Updated treatment recommendations based on new evidence have been made for dual antiplatelet therapy for TIA and minor stroke; anticoagulant therapy for atrial fibrillation; embolic strokes of undetermined source; low-density lipoprotein lowering; hypertriglyceridemia; diabetes treatment; and patent foramen ovale management. A new section has been added to provide practical guidance regarding temporary interruption of antithrombotic therapy for surgical procedures. Cancer-associated ischemic stroke is addressed. A section on virtual care delivery of secondary stroke prevention services in included to highlight a shifting paradigm of care delivery made more urgent by the global pandemic. In addition, where appropriate, sex differences as they pertain to treatments have been addressed. The CSBPR include supporting materials such as implementation resources to facilitate the adoption of evidence into practice and performance measures to enable monitoring of uptake and effectiveness of recommendations.
Prehospital delays are a major obstacle to timely reperfusion therapy in acute ischemic stroke. Stroke sign recognition, however, remains poor in the community. We present an analysis of repeated surveys to assess the impact of Face, Arm, Speech, Time (FAST) public awareness campaigns on stroke knowledge.
Four cross-sectional surveys were conducted between July 2016 and January 2019 in the province of Quebec, Canada (n = 2,451). Knowledge of FAST stroke signs (face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulties) was assessed with open-ended questions. A bilingual English/French FAST public awareness campaign preceded survey waves 1–3 and two campaigns preceded wave 4. We used multivariable ordinal regression models weighted for age and sex to assess FAST stroke sign knowledge.
We observed an overall significant improvement of 26% in FAST stroke sign knowledge between survey waves 1 and 4 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.26; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.55; p = 0.035). After the last campaign, however, 30.5% (95% CI: 27.5, 33.6) of people were still unable to name a single FAST sign. Factors associated with worse performance were male sex (OR = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.53, 0.86; p = 0.002) and retirement (OR = 0.54; 95% CI: 0.35, 0.83; p = 0.005). People with lower household income and education had a tendency towards worse stroke sign knowledge and were significantly less aware of the FAST campaigns.
Knowledge of FAST stroke signs in the general population improved after multiple public awareness campaigns, although it remained low overall. Future FAST campaigns should especially target men, retired people and individuals with a lower socioeconomic status.
The effectiveness of mechanical thrombectomy (MT) in elderly stroke patients remains debated. We aimed to describe outcomes and their predictors in a cohort of patients aged ≥ 85 years treated with MT.
Data from consecutive patients aged ≥ 85 years undergoing MT at two stroke centers between January 2016 and November 2019 were reviewed. Admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), pre-stroke, and 3-month modified Rankin scale (mRS) were collected. Successful recanalization was defined as modified thrombolysis in cerebral ischemia score ≥ 2b. Good outcome was defined as mRS 0–3 or equal to pre-stroke mRS at 3 months.
Of 151 included patients, successful recanalization was achieved in 74.2%. At 3 months, 44.7% of patients had a good outcome and 39% had died. Any intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) and symptomatic ICH occurred in 20.3% and 3.6%, respectively. Logistic regression analysis identiﬁed lower pre-stroke mRS score (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.52; 95% CI, 0.36–0.76), lower admission NIHSS score (aOR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.83–0.97), successful recanalization (aOR, 3.65; 95% CI, 1.32–10.09), and absence of ICH on follow-up imaging (aOR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.08–0.75), to be independent predictors of good outcome. Patients with successful recanalization had a higher proportion of good outcome (45.3% vs 34.3%, p = 0.013) and lower mortality at 3 months (35.8% vs 48.6%, p = 0.006) compared to patients with unsuccessful recanalization.
Among patients aged ≥ 85 years, successful recanalization with MT is relatively common and associated with better 3-month outcome and lower mortality than failed recanalization. Attempting to achieve recanalization in elderly patients using MT appears reasonable.
During the Randomized Assessment of Rapid Endovascular Treatment (EVT) of Ischemic Stroke (ESCAPE) trial, patient-level micro-costing data were collected. We report a cost-effectiveness analysis of EVT, using ESCAPE trial data and Markov simulation, from a universal, single-payer system using a societal perspective over a patient’s lifetime.
Primary data collection alongside the ESCAPE trial provided a 3-month trial-specific, non-model, based cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). A Markov model utilizing ongoing lifetime costs and life expectancy from the literature was built to simulate the cost per QALY adopting a lifetime horizon. Health states were defined using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores. Uncertainty was explored using scenario analysis and probabilistic sensitivity analysis.
The 3-month trial-based analysis resulted in a cost per QALY of $201,243 of EVT compared to the best standard of care. In the model-based analysis, using a societal perspective and a lifetime horizon, EVT dominated the standard of care; EVT was both more effective and less costly than the standard of care (−$91). When the time horizon was shortened to 1 year, EVT remains cost savings compared to standard of care (∼$15,376 per QALY gained with EVT). However, if the estimate of clinical effectiveness is 4% less than that demonstrated in ESCAPE, EVT is no longer cost savings compared to standard of care.
Results support the adoption of EVT as a treatment option for acute ischemic stroke, as the increase in costs associated with caring for EVT patients was recouped within the first year of stroke, and continued to provide cost savings over a patient’s lifetime.
This is an observational cohort study comparing 156 patients evaluated for acute stroke between March 30 and May 31, 2020 at a comprehensive stroke center with 138 patients evaluated during the corresponding time period in 2019. During the pandemic, the proportion of COVID-19 positive patients was low (3%), the time from symptom onset to hospital presentation was significantly longer, and a smaller proportion of patients underwent reperfusion therapy. Among patients directly evaluated at our institution, door-to-needle and door-to-recanalization metrics were significantly longer. Our findings support concerns that the current pandemic may have a negative impact on the management of acute stroke.
The benefit of late window endovascular treatment (EVT) for anterior circulation ischemic stroke has been demonstrated using perfusion-based neuroimaging. We evaluated whether non-contrast CT (NCCT) and CT-angiogram (CTA) alone can select late-presenting patients for EVT.
We performed a retrospective comparison of all patients undergoing EVT at a single comprehensive stroke center from January 2016 to April 2017. Patients planned for EVT were divided into early (<6 hours from onset) and late (≥6 hours from onset or last time seen normal) window groups. Incidence of symptomatic hemorrhagic transformations (sHTs) at 24 hours and 3-month modified Rankin scores (mRSs) were compared.
During the study period, 204 (82%) patients underwent EVT in the early and 44 (18%) in the late window. Median (interquartile range) NIH Stroke Scale Score was similar between groups (early: 18 [15–23] vs. late: 17 [13–21]), as were median ASPECT scores (early: 9 [8–10] vs. late: 9 [7–9]). In the late window, 42 (95%) strokes were of unknown onset. Similar proportions of sHT occurred at 24 hours (early: 12 [6%] vs. late: 4 [9%], p = 0.43). At 3 months, the proportion of patients achieving functional independence (mRS 0–2) were comparable in the early (80/192 [42%]) and late (16/41 [39%]) windows (p = 0.76).
NCCT- and CTA-based patient selection led to similar functional independence outcomes and low proportions of sHT in the early and late windows. In centers without access to perfusion-based neuroimaging, this pragmatic approach could be safe, particularly for strokes of unknown onset.
Prehospital identification of large vessel occlusion (LVO) stroke may expedite treatment by direct transport to comprehensive stroke centers (CSCs) with endovascular capabilities. The Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale (CPSS) is commonly used for prehospital stroke detection. We aimed to assess whether (1) a high CPSS score can identify LVO and (2) an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) redirection protocol based on high CPSS accelerated endovascular treatment (EVT).
A retrospective comparison of patients transported by EMSs for suspected stroke to a high-volume CSC over a 16-month period, before and after implementation of an EMS redirection protocol based on high CPSS score (3/3). Charts were reviewed to determine the presence of LVO. Time to EVT and 3-month outcomes were compared before and after implementation.
A prehospital CPSS 3/3 score was found in 223 (59%) patients, demonstrating positive and negative predictive values for LVO of 29% and 94%, respectively. CPSS-based EMS redirection increased the proportion of EVT performed after direct transport to CSC [before: 21 (36%), after: 45 (63%), p < 0.01] and decreased median first door-to-groin puncture time by 28 minutes [109 (interquartile range (IQR) 64–116) versus 81 (IQR 56–130), p = 0.03]. At 3 months, the proportion of patients achieving functional independence (modified Rankin score 0–2) went from 20/57 (35%) to 29/68 (43%) (p = 0.39) following implementation.
CPSS-based EMS redirection accelerated identification of LVO strokes in the out-of-hospital setting and decreased time to EVT. Nevertheless, this protocol was also associated with high rates of non-LVO stroke. Impact on clinical outcomes should be evaluated in a larger cohort.
Background: More timely administration of tissue plasminogen activator (alteplase) for patients with acute ischemic stroke yields greater clinical benefits. We implemented door-to-needle (DTN) time reduction strategies at our center and evaluated their short- and long-term effects on in-hospital treatment delays and clinical outcomes. Methods: Strategies, including stroke team prenotification, direct computed tomography transfer, not routinely waiting for laboratory results and alteplase delivery on the computed tomography table, were implemented in June 2013. We included all thrombolysed patients admitted directly to our hospital between January 2012 and March 2015. In-hospital delays and symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage rates were compared between patients pre- and postmodification, and the latter period was divided into early (first 6 months) and late (beyond 6 months) phases to assess the durability of our modifications. Results: Forty-eight individuals were treated premodification compared with 58 postmodification. The median DTN time was reduced from 75 to 46 minutes (p<0.0001). The median DTN time in the early and late postmodification phases was not significantly different (41 vs 46 minutes, p=0.4085). There was no significant difference in rates of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (4.2 vs 1.7%, p=0.361) or stroke mimics (2.1 ves 5.2%, p=0.625) Conclusions: We were able to decrease our DTN time for acute stroke thrombolysis by implementing relatively simple modifications and these improvements persisted over time.
Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV tPA) has been studied primarily in patients over age 50. We sought to describe baseline differences in adult patients ≤50 years-old taken from a large prospective cohort of acute stroke patients treated with intravenous tPA (IV tPA) and to determine whether outcomes differed for this population.
Data (n = 1120) prospectively collected from the Canadian Alteplase for Stroke Effectiveness Study (CASES) were reviewed and patients aged ≤50 years-old (n=99) were compared with those aged >50 years (n=1021) with regards to baseline characteristics, symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage (sICH), functional outcome at 90 days and death.
Nine percent of patients were ≤50 years-old. Among patients aged ≤50 years, 40.4% were women and median age was 42 ± 6.1 years (range 20 to 50). They had significantly more current cigarette use but fewer other vascular risk factors than older patients (p<0.05) and their baseline median NIHSS score was lower (13 versus 15, P=0.001). Although this group was more likely to have a favourable 90-day outcome, multivariable regression confirmed that age ≤50 years, while independently associated with a decreased risk of death (RR 0.36, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.95), was not itself predictive of favourable 90-day outcome or decreased risk of sICH.
Adult patients ≤50 years-old had fewer medical co-morbidities and a modestly lower baseline median NIHSS score than their older counterparts. Age ≤50 years was independently associated with a decreased risk of death but not with favourable outcome or risk of sICH.
Studies of the prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Canada have generally been isolated to specific regions. Given the importance of multiple sclerosis as a cause of disability in adults, a comprehensive review of Canadian MS prevalence examining current data, interregional variation, deficiencies in knowledge and frontiers for research is timely.
A systematic review of all studies addressing the prevalence of MS in Canada or regions within Canada, published in English or French since 1985, was conducted. Studies were identified using MEDLINE, EMBASE and bibliographic review. Ten studies were evaluated for methodological rigour and a test of heterogeneity across studies was performed and a measure of consistency (I2) estimated.
Studies were generally of high quality. Nine were restricted to regions within Canada and one provided an estimated national prevalence based on self-reported cases. All reported a high prevalence (>50 per 100 000). Latitude and longitude gradients were not striking while assessment of heterogeneity confirmed that regional differences were unlikely to be the result of sampling variability.
This review confirms Canada as a country of very high MS prevalence and it is the first study to demonstrate that variation in regional estimates represents true differences in prevalence within Canada. Avenues for future MS prevalence research, including adoption of a national MS registry, are proposed.
transient ischemic attack (tIA) and minor stroke have a high risk of early neurological deterioration, and patients who experience early improvement are at risk of deterioration. We generated a score for quantifying the worst reported motor and speech deficits and assessed whether this predicted outcome.
510 tIA or minor stroke (NIHSS>4) patients were included. the Historical Stroke Severity Score (HSSS) prospectively quantified the patient's description of the worst motor or speech deficits. the HSSS was rated at the time of first assessment with more severe deficits scoring higher. Motor HSSS included assessments of arm and leg motor power (score total 0-5). Speech HSSS assessed severity of dysarthria and aphasia (total 0-3). the association between motor and speech HSSS and symptom progression was assessed during the 90-day follow-up period.
the proportion of patients in each category of the motor HSSS was 0: 43% (216/510), 1: 22%(110/510), 2: 17% (89/510), 3: 7% (37/510), 4: 5% (28/510) and 5: 6% (30/510). Motor HSSS was associated with symptom progression (p=0.004) but not recurrent stroke. Speech HSSS was not associated with either progression or recurrent stroke. Motor HSSS predicted disability (p=0.002) and intracranial occlusion (p=0.012). Disability increased with increasing motor HSSS.
taking a detailed history about the severity of motor deficits, but not speech, predicted outcome in tIA and minor stroke patients. A score based on the patient's description of the severity of motor symptoms predicted symptom progression, intracranial occlusion and functional outcome, but not recurrent stroke in a tIA and minor stroke population.
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