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The optimal timing of anticoagulation after ischemic stroke in atrial fibrillation (AF) patients is unknown. Our aim was to demonstrate the feasibility and safety of initiating dabigatran therapy within 14 days of transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke in AF patients.
Patients and Methods:
A prospective, multi-center registry (NCT02415855) in patients with AF treated with dabigatran within 14 days of acute ischemic stroke/TIA (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) ≤ 3) onset. Baseline and follow-up computed tomography (CT) scans were assessed for hemorrhagic transformation (HT) and graded by using European Cooperative Acute Stroke Study criteria.
One hundred and one patients, with a mean age of 72.4 ± 11.5 years, were enrolled. Median infarct volume was 0 ml. Median time from index event onset to dabigatran initiation was 2 days, and median baseline NIHSS was 1. Pre-treatment HT was present in seven patients. No patients developed symptomatic HT. On the day 7 CT scan, HT was present in six patients (one progressing from baseline hemorrhagic infarction type 1). Infarct volume was a predictor of incident HT (odds ratio = 1.063 [1.020–1.107], p < 0.003). All six (100%) patients with new/progressive HT were functionally independent (modified Rankin Scale (mRS) = 0–2) at 30 days, which was similar to those without HT (90%, p = 0.422). Recurrent ischemic events occurred within 30 days in four patients, two of which were associated with severe disability and death (mRS 5 and 6, respectively).
Early dabigatran treatment did not precipitate symptomatic HT after minor stroke. Asymptomatic HT was associated with larger baseline infarct volumes. Early recurrent ischemic events may be clinically more important.
Drive-through clinics (DTCs) are a novel type of point of dispensing where participants drive to a designated location and receive prophylaxis while remaining inside their vehicle. The objective of this review was to identify effective practices and recommendations for implementing DTCs for mass prophylaxis dispensing during emergency events.
A systematic review was conducted for articles covering DTCs published between 1990 and 2019. Inclusion criteria were peer-reviewed, written in English, and addressed DTCs sufficiently. Effective practices and recommendations identified in the literature were presented by theme.
A total of 13 articles met inclusion criteria. The themes identified were (1) optimal DTC design and planning via decision support systems and decision support tools; (2) clinic layouts, locations, and design aspects; (3) staffing, training, and DTC communication; (4) throughput time; (5) community outreach methods; (6) DTC equipment; (7) infection prevention and personal protective equipment; and (8) adverse events prevention and traffic management.
DTCs are an essential component of emergency preparedness and must be optimally designed and implemented to successfully dispense mass prophylaxis to a community within 48 hours. The effective practices and recommendations presented can be used for the development, implementation, and improvement of DTCs for their target populations.
Longitudinal, patient-level data on resource use and costs after an ischemic stroke are lacking in Canada. The objectives of this analysis were to calculate costs for the first year post-stroke and determine the impact of disability on costs.
The Economic Burden of Ischemic Stroke (BURST) Study was a one-year prospective study with a cohort of ischemic stroke patients recruited at 12 Canadian stroke centres. Clinical history, disability, health preference and resource utilization information was collected at discharge, three months, six months and one year. Resources included direct medical costs (2009 CAN$) such as emergency services, hospitalizations, rehabilitation, physician services, diagnostics, medications, allied health professional services, homecare, medical/assistive devices, changes to residence and paid caregivers, as well as indirect costs. Results were stratified by disability measured at discharge using the modified Rankin Score (mRS): non-disabling stroke (mRS 0-2) and disabling stroke (mRS 3-5).
We enrolled 232 ischemic stroke patients (age 69.4 ± 15.4 years; 51.3% male) and 113 (48.7%) were disabled at hospital discharge. The average annual cost was $74,353; $107,883 for disabling strokes and $48,339 for non-disabling strokes.
An average annual cost for ischemic stroke was calculated in which a disabling stroke was associated with a two-fold increase in costs compared to NDS. Costs during the hospitalization to three months phase were the highest contributor to the annual cost. A “back of the envelope” calculation using 38,000 stroke admissions and the average annual cost yields $2.8 billion as the burden of ischemic stroke.
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