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In 2010, we published our stroke prevention clinic’s performance as compared to Canadian stroke prevention guidelines. We now compare our clinic’s adherence with guidelines to our previous results, following the implementation of an electronic documentation form.
All new patients referred to our clinic (McGill University Health Center) for recent transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ischemic stroke between 2014 and 2017 were included. We compared adherence to guidelines to our previous report (N=408 patients for period 2008–2010) regarding vascular risk management and treatment.
Three hundred and ninety-two patients were included, of which 36% had a TIA and 64% had an ischemic stroke, with a mean age of 70 years and 43% female. Although the more recent cohort has shown a higher proportion of cardioembolic stroke compared to previous (19.1% vs. 14.7%) following new guidelines regarding prolonged cardiac monitoring, increased popularity in CT angiography has not translated into greater proportion of large-artery stroke subtype (26.3% vs. 26.2%). Blood pressure (BP) targets were achieved in 83% compared with 70% in our previous report (p<0.01). Attainment of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol target was also improved in our recent study (66% vs. 46%, p<0.01). No significant difference was found in the consistency of antithrombotic use (97.7% vs. 99.8%, p=0.08). However, there was a decline in smoking cessation (35% vs. 73%, p=0.02). Overall, optimal therapy status was better attained in the present cohort compared to the previous one (52% vs. 22%, p<0.01). The male sex was associated with better attainment of optimal therapy status (odds ratio, 1.61; 95% confidence interval, 1.04–2.51). The number of follow-up visits and the length of follow-up were not associated with attainment of stroke prevention targets.
Our study shows improvement in attainment of therapeutic goals as recommended by Canadian stroke prevention guidelines, possibly attributed in part to the implementation of electronic medical recording in our clinic. Areas for improvement include smoking cessation counseling and diabetes screening.
Few studies have assessed the performance of stroke prevention clinics. In particular, limited information exists on patient compliance, achievement of therapeutic targets, and related occurrence of vascular events.
We compared our clinical practice to recommendations from published guidelines in newly referred patients for transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ischemic stroke between 2008 and 2010. We monitored our cohort for at least 1 year and assessed for adequacy of vascular risk factor management, drug adherence, and occurrence of nonlethal vascular outcomes.
Of 408 patients, 57.8% had a stroke and 42.2% a TIA. The mean age was 68±13 years, and 52% male. Average follow-up was 15.8 months. During follow-up, 253 patients (70.3%) completely achieved their blood pressure target, 151 (45.5%) achieved their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol target, and 407 (99.8%) were on antithrombotics. Eighty-nine patients (21.8%) attained optimal therapy status, defined as reaching targets for LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and antithrombotic use. Adherence to drug therapy was associated with attainment of optimal therapy status (p=0.01). Diabetes was associated with lower probability of attaining optimal therapy status (odds ratio [OR], 0.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.20-0.66) and blood pressure targets (OR, 0.09; 95% CI, 0.05-0.17). During follow-up, 52 (12.7%) patients had a nonlethal vascular event.
Our study shows good attainment of therapeutic goals associated with adherence to drug therapy. However, optimal therapy status and blood pressure targets were more difficult to attain in patients with diabetes; therefore, more intensive preventive efforts may be required for these individuals.
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