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We provide an updated estimate of adult stroke event rates by age group, sex, and stroke type using Canadian administrative data. In the 2017–2018 fiscal year, there were an estimated 81,781 hospital or emergency department visits for stroke events in Canada, excluding Quebec. Our findings show that overall, the event rate of stroke is similar between women and men. There were slight differences in stroke event rate at various ages by sex and stroke type and emerging patterns warrant attention in future studies. Our findings emphasize the importance of continuous surveillance to monitor the epidemiology of stroke in Canada.
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.
Although age-standardized stroke occurrence has been decreasing, the absolute number of stroke events globally, and in Canada, is increasing. Stroke surveillance is necessary for health services planning, informing research design, and public health messaging. We used administrative data to estimate the number of stroke events resulting in hospital or emergency department presentation across Canada in the 2017–18 fiscal year.
Hospitalization data were obtained from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) Discharge Abstract Database and the Ministry of Health and Social Services in Quebec. Emergency department data were obtained from the CIHI National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (Alberta and Ontario). Stroke events were identified using ICD-10 coding. Data were linked into episodes of care to account for readmissions and interfacility transfers. Projections for emergency department visits for provinces/territories outside of Alberta and Ontario were generated based upon age and sex-standardized estimates from Alberta and Ontario.
In the 2017–18 fiscal year, there were 108,707 stroke events resulting in hospital or emergency department presentation across the country. This was made up of 54,357 events resulting in hospital admission and 54,350 events resulting in only emergency department presentation. The events resulting in only emergency department presentation consisted of 25,941 events observed in Alberta and Ontario and a projection of 28,409 events across the rest of the country.
We estimate a stroke event resulting in hospital or emergency department presentation occurs every 5 minutes in Canada.
The 2022 update of the Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations (CSBPR) for Acute Stroke Management, 7th edition, is a comprehensive summary of current evidence-based recommendations, appropriate for use by an interdisciplinary team of healthcare providers and system planners caring for persons with an acute stroke or transient ischemic attack. These recommendations are a timely opportunity to reassess current processes to ensure efficient access to acute stroke diagnostics, treatments, and management strategies, proven to reduce mortality and morbidity. The topics covered include prehospital care, emergency department care, intravenous thrombolysis and endovascular thrombectomy (EVT), prevention and management of inhospital complications, vascular risk factor reduction, early rehabilitation, and end-of-life care. These recommendations pertain primarily to an acute ischemic vascular event. Notable changes in the 7th edition include recommendations pertaining the use of tenecteplase, thrombolysis as a bridging therapy prior to mechanical thrombectomy, dual antiplatelet therapy for stroke prevention,1 the management of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage following thrombolysis, acute stroke imaging, care of patients undergoing EVT, medical assistance in dying, and virtual stroke care. An explicit effort was made to address sex and gender differences wherever possible. The theme of the 7th edition of the CSBPR is building connections to optimize individual outcomes, recognizing that many people who present with acute stroke often also have multiple comorbid conditions, are medically more complex, and require a coordinated interdisciplinary approach for optimal recovery. Additional materials to support timely implementation and quality monitoring of these recommendations are available at www.strokebestpractices.ca.
Neurocognitive testing may advance the goal of predicting near-term suicide risk. The current study examined whether performance on a Go/No-go (GNG) task, and computational modeling to extract latent cognitive variables, could enhance prediction of suicide attempts within next 90 days, among individuals at high-risk for suicide.
136 Veterans at high-risk for suicide previously completed a computer-based GNG task requiring rapid responding (Go) to target stimuli, while withholding responses (No-go) to infrequent foil stimuli; behavioral variables included false alarms to foils (failure to inhibit) and missed responses to targets. We conducted a secondary analysis of these data, with outcomes defined as actual suicide attempt (ASA), other suicide-related event (OtherSE) such as interrupted/aborted attempt or preparatory behavior, or neither (noSE), within 90-days after GNG testing, to examine whether GNG variables could improve ASA prediction over standard clinical variables. A computational model (linear ballistic accumulator, LBA) was also applied, to elucidate cognitive mechanisms underlying group differences.
On GNG, increased miss rate selectively predicted ASA, while increased false alarm rate predicted OtherSE (without ASA) within the 90-day follow-up window. In LBA modeling, ASA (but not OtherSE) was associated with decreases in decisional efficiency to targets, suggesting differences in the evidence accumulation process were specifically associated with upcoming ASA.
These findings suggest that GNG may improve prediction of near-term suicide risk, with distinct behavioral patterns in those who will attempt suicide within the next 90 days. Computational modeling suggests qualitative differences in cognition in individuals at near-term risk of suicide attempt.
The Passive Surveillance Stroke Severity (PaSSV) Indicator was derived to estimate stroke severity from variables in administrative datasets but has not been externally validated.
We used linked administrative datasets to identify patients with first hospitalization for acute stroke between 2007-2018 in Alberta, Canada. We used the PaSSV indicator to estimate stroke severity. We used Cox proportional hazard models and evaluated the change in hazard ratios and model discrimination for 30-day and 1-year case fatality with and without PaSSV. Similar comparisons were made for 90-day home time thresholds using logistic regression. We also linked with a clinical registry to obtain National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and compared estimates from models without stroke severity, with PaSSV, and with NIHSS.
There were 28,672 patients with acute stroke in the full sample. In comparison to no stroke severity, addition of PaSSV to the 30-day case fatality models resulted in improvement in model discrimination (C-statistic 0.72 [95%CI 0.71–0.73] to 0.80 [0.79–0.80]). After adjustment for PaSSV, admission to a comprehensive stroke center was associated with lower 30-day case fatality (adjusted hazard ratio changed from 1.03 [0.96–1.10] to 0.72 [0.67–0.77]). In the registry sample (N = 1328), model discrimination for 30-day case fatality improved with the inclusion of stroke severity. Results were similar for 1-year case fatality and home time outcomes.
Addition of PaSSV improved model discrimination for case fatality and home time outcomes. The validity of PASSV in two Canadian provinces suggests that it is a useful tool for baseline risk adjustment in acute stroke.
We examined the accuracy of International Classification of Disease 10th iteration (ICD-10) diagnosis codes within Canadian administrative data in identifying cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT). Of 289 confirmed cases of CVT admitted to our comprehensive stroke center between 2008 and 2018, 239/289 were new diagnoses and 204/239 were acute events with only 75/204 representing symptomatic CVTs not provoked by trauma or structural processes. Using ICD-10 codes in any position, sensitivity was 39.1% and positive predictive value was 94.2% for patients with a current or history of CVT and 84.0% and 52.5% for acute and symptomatic CVTs not provoked by trauma or structural processes.
Collateral status is an indicator of a favorable outcome in stroke. Leptomeningeal collaterals provide alternative routes for brain perfusion following an arterial occlusion or flow-limiting stenosis. Using a large cohort of ischemic stroke patients, we examined the relative contribution of various demographic, laboratory, and clinical variables in explaining variability in collateral status.
Patients with acute ischemic stroke in the anterior circulation were enrolled in a multi-center hospital-based observational study. Intracranial occlusions and collateral status were identified and graded using multiphase computed tomography angiography. Based on the percentage of affected territory filled by collateral supply, collaterals were graded as either poor (0–49%), good (50–99%), or optimal (100%). Between-group differences in demographic, laboratory, and clinical factors were explored using ordinal regression models. Further, we explored the contribution of measured variables in explaining variance in collateral status.
386 patients with collateral status classified as poor (n = 64), good (n = 125), and optimal (n = 197) were included. Median time from symptom onset to CT was 120 (IQR: 78–246) minutes. In final multivariable model, male sex (OR 1.9, 95% CIs [1.2, 2.9], p = 0.005) and leukocytosis (OR 1.1, 95% CIs [1.1, 1.2], p = 0.001) were associated with poor collaterals. Measured variables only explained 44.8–53.0% of the observed between-patient variance in collaterals.
Male sex and leukocytosis are associated with poorer collaterals. Nearly half of the variance in collateral flow remains unexplained and could be in part due to genetic differences.
Endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) has significantly improved outcomes for patients with acute ischemic stroke due to large vessel occlusion. However, despite advances, more than half of patients remain functionally dependent 3 months after their initial stroke. Anesthetic strategy may influence both the technical success of the procedure and overall outcomes. Conventionally, general anesthesia (GA) has been widely used for neuroendovascular procedures, particularly for the distal intracranial circulation, because the complete absence of movement has been considered imperative for procedural success and to minimize complications. In contrast, in patients with acute stroke undergoing EVT, the optimal anesthetic strategy is controversial. Nonrandomized studies suggest GA negatively affects outcomes while the more recent anesthesia-specific RCTs report improved or unchanged outcomes in patients managed with versus without GA, although these findings cannot be generalized to other EVT capable centers due to a number of limitations. Potential explanations for these contrasting results will be addressed in this review including the effect of different anesthetic strategies on cerebral and systemic hemodynamics, revascularization times, and periprocedural complications.
Increased risk donors in paediatric heart transplantation have characteristics that may increase the risk of infectious disease transmission despite negative serologic testing. However, the risk of disease transmission is low, and refusing an IRD offer may increase waitlist mortality. We sought to determine the risks of declining an initial IRD organ offer.
Methods and results:
We performed a retrospective analysis of candidates waitlisted for isolated PHT using 20072017 United Network of Organ Sharing datasets. Match runs identified candidates receiving IRD offers. Competing risks analysis was used to determine mortality risk for those that declined an initial IRD offer with stratified Cox regression to estimate the survival benefit associated with accepting initial IRD offers. Overall, 238/1067 (22.3%) initial IRD offers were accepted. Candidates accepting an IRD offer were younger (7.2 versus 9.8 years, p < 0.001), more often female (50 versus 41%, p = 0.021), more often listed status 1A (75.6 versus 61.9%, p < 0.001), and less likely to require mechanical bridge to PHT (16% versus 23%, p = 0.036). At 1- and 5-year follow-up, cumulative mortality was significantly lower for candidates who accepted compared to those that declined (6% versus 13% 1-year mortality and 15% versus 25% 5-year mortality, p = 0.0033). Decline of an IRD offer was associated with an adjusted hazard ratio for mortality of 1.87 (95% CI 1.24, 2.81, p < 0.003).
IRD organ acceptance is associated with a substantial survival benefit. Increasing acceptance of IRD organs may provide a targetable opportunity to decrease waitlist mortality in PHT.
We examined the return on investment (ROI) from the Endovascular Reperfusion Alberta (ERA) project, a provincially funded population-wide strategy to improve access to endovascular therapy (EVT), to inform policy regarding sustainability.
We calculated net benefit (NB) as benefit minus cost and ROI as benefit divided by cost. Patients treated with EVT and their controls were identified from the ESCAPE trial. Using the provincial administrative databases, their health services utilization (HSU), including inpatient, outpatient, physician, long-term care services, and prescription drugs, were compared. This benefit was then extrapolated to the number of patients receiving EVT increased in 2018 and 2019 by the ERA implementation. We used three time horizons, including short (90 days), medium (1 year), and long-term (5 years).
EVT was associated with a reduced gross HSU cost for all the three time horizons. Given the total costs of ERA were $2.04 million in 2018 ($11,860/patient) and $3.73 million in 2019 ($17,070/patient), NB per patient in 2018 (2019) was estimated at −$7,313 (−$12,524), $54,592 ($49,381), and $47,070 ($41,859) for short, medium, and long-term time horizons, respectively. Total NB for the province in 2018 (2019) were −$1.26 (−$2.74), $9.40 ($10.78), and $8.11 ($9.14) million; ROI ratios were 0.4 (0.3), 5.6 (3.9) and 5.0 (3.5). Probabilities of ERA being cost saving were 39% (31%), 97% (96%), and 94% (91%), for short, medium, and long-term time horizons, respectively.
The ERA program was cost saving in the medium and long-term time horizons. Results emphasized the importance of considering a broad range of HSU and long-term impact to capture the full ROI.
Targeted drug development efforts in patients with CHD are needed to standardise care, improve outcomes, and limit adverse events in the post-operative period. To identify major gaps in knowledge that can be addressed by drug development efforts and provide a rationale for current clinical practice, this review evaluates the evidence behind the most common medication classes used in the post-operative care of children with CHD undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass.
We systematically searched PubMed and EMBASE from 2000 to 2019 using a controlled vocabulary and keywords related to diuretics, vasoactives, sedatives, analgesics, pulmonary vasodilators, coagulation system medications, antiarrhythmics, steroids, and other endocrine drugs. We included studies of drugs given post-operatively to children with CHD undergoing repair or palliation with cardiopulmonary bypass.
We identified a total of 127 studies with 51,573 total children across medication classes. Most studies were retrospective cohorts at single centres. There is significant age- and disease-related variability in drug disposition, efficacy, and safety.
In this study, we discovered major gaps in knowledge for each medication class and identified areas for future research. Advances in data collection through electronic health records, novel trial methods, and collaboration can aid drug development efforts in standardising care, improving outcomes, and limiting adverse events in the post-operative period.
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.
Acute ischemic stroke may affect women and men differently. We aimed to evaluate sex differences in outcomes of endovascular treatment (EVT) for ischemic stroke due to large vessel occlusion in a population-based study in Alberta, Canada.
Methods and Results:
Over a 3-year period (April 2015–March 2018), 576 patients fit the inclusion criteria of our study and constituted the EVT group of our analysis. The medical treatment group of the ESCAPE trial had 150 patients. Thus, our total sample size was 726. We captured outcomes in clinical routine using administrative data and a linked database methodology. The primary outcome of our study was home-time. Home-time refers to the number of days that the patient was back at their premorbid living situation without an increase in the level of care within 90 days of the index stroke event. In adjusted analysis, EVT was associated with an increase of 90-day home-time by an average of 6.08 (95% CI −2.74–14.89, p-value 0.177) days in women compared to an average of 11.20 (95% CI 1.94–20.46, p-value 0.018) days in men. Further analysis revealed that the association between EVT and 90-day home-time in women was confounded by age and onset-to-treatment time.
We found a nonsignificant nominal reduction of 90-day home-time gain for women compared to men in this province-wide population-based study of EVT for large vessel occlusion, which was only partially explained by confounding.
Decisions to treat large-vessel occlusion with endovascular therapy (EVT) or intravenous alteplase depend on how physicians weigh benefits against risks when considering patients’ comorbidities. We explored EVT/alteplase decision-making by stroke experts in the setting of comorbidity/disability.
In an international multi-disciplinary survey, experts chose treatment approaches under current resources and under assumed ideal conditions for 10 of 22 randomly assigned case scenarios. Five included comorbidities (cancer, cardiac/respiratory/renal disease, mild cognitive impairment [MCI], physical dependence). We examined scenario/respondent characteristics associated with EVT/alteplase decisions using multivariable logistic regressions.
Among 607 physicians (38 countries), EVT was chosen less often in comorbidity-related scenarios (79.6% under current resources, 82.7% assuming ideal conditions) versus six “level-1A” scenarios for which EVT/alteplase was clearly indicated by current guidelines (91.1% and 95.1%, respectively, odds ratio [OR] [current resources]: 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.31–0.47). However, EVT was chosen more often in comorbidity-related scenarios compared to all other 17 scenarios (79.6% versus 74.4% under current resources, OR: 1.34, 1.17–1.54). Responses favoring alteplase for comorbidity-related scenarios (e.g. 75.0% under current resources) were comparable to level-1A scenarios (72.2%) and higher than all others (60.4%). No comorbidity independently diminished EVT odds when considering all scenarios. MCI and dependence carried higher alteplase odds; cancer and cardiac/respiratory/renal disease had lower odds. Being older/female carried lower EVT odds. Relevant respondent characteristics included performing more EVT cases/year (higher EVT-, lower alteplase odds), practicing in East Asia (higher EVT odds), and in interventional neuroradiology (lower alteplase odds vs neurology).
Moderate-to-severe comorbidities did not consistently deter experts from EVT, suggesting equipoise about withholding EVT based on comorbidities. However, alteplase was often foregone when respondents chose EVT. Differences in decision-making by patient age/sex merit further study.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems have developed protocols for prehospital activation of the cardiac catheterization laboratory for patients with suspected ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) to decrease first-medical-contact-to-balloon time (FMC2B). The rate of “false positive” prehospital activations is high. In order to decrease this rate and expedite care for patients with true STEMI, the American Heart Association (AHA; Dallas, Texas USA) developed the Mission Lifeline PreAct STEMI algorithm, which was implemented in Los Angeles County (LAC; California USA) in 2015. The hypothesis of this study was that implementation of the PreAct algorithm would increase the positive predictive value (PPV) of prehospital activation.
This is an observational pre-/post-study of the effect of the implementation of the PreAct algorithm for patients with suspected STEMI transported to one of five STEMI Receiving Centers (SRCs) within the LAC Regional System. The primary outcome was the PPV of cardiac catheterization laboratory activation for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). The secondary outcome was FMC2B.
A total of 1,877 patients were analyzed for the primary outcome in the pre-intervention period and 405 patients in the post-intervention period. There was an overall decrease in cardiac catheterization laboratory activations, from 67% in the pre-intervention period to 49% in the post-intervention period (95% CI for the difference, -14% to -22%). The overall rate of cardiac catheterization declined in post-intervention period as compared the pre-intervention period, from 34% to 30% (95% CI, for the difference -7.6% to 0.4%), but actually increased for subjects who had activation (48% versus 58%; 95% CI, 4.6%-15.0%). Implementation of the PreAct algorithm was associated with an increase in the PPV of activation for PCI or CABG from 37.9% to 48.6%. The overall odds ratio (OR) associated with the intervention was 1.4 (95% CI, 1.1-1.8). The effect of the intervention was to decrease variability between medical centers. There was no associated change in average FMC2B.
The implementation of the PreAct algorithm in the LAC EMS system was associated with an overall increase in the PPV of cardiac catheterization laboratory activation.
Covert brain infarcts (CBIs) are five times more prevalent than symptomatic brain infarcts. CBIs are associated with cognitive impairment and therefore may be a target for preventing cognitive decline and dementia. This review focuses on strategies for preventing CBI-related cognitive impairment, either by preventing incident or recurrent CBI or by enhancing cognitive reserve. CBIs begin to become prevalent during midlife and are highly prevalent in later life. The distribution of vascular pathologies of CBI differs from those that cause symptomatic stroke; therefore, preventive treatments may need to differ as well. Only a few randomized clinical trials have provided data on CBI prevention, without conclusive results. Limited data suggest that higher early-life education, hypothesized to enhance cognitive reserve, can protect the brain from effects of CBI.
The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial randomised neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome to a shunt strategy but otherwise retained standard of care. We aimed to describe centre-level practice variation at Fontan completion.
Centre-level data are reported as median or median frequency across all centres and range of medians or frequencies across centres. Classification and regression tree analysis assessed the association of centre-level factors with length of stay and percentage of patients with prolonged pleural effusion (>7 days).
The median Fontan age (14 centres, 320 patients) was 3.1 years (range from 1.7 to 3.9), and the weight-for-age z-score was −0.56 (−1.35 + 0.44). Extra-cardiac Fontans were performed in 79% (4–100%) of patients at the 13 centres performing this procedure; lateral tunnels were performed in 32% (3–100%) at the 11 centres performing it. Deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (nine centres) ranged from 6 to 100%. Major complications occurred in 17% (7–33%). The length of stay was 9.5 days (9–12); 15% (6–33%) had prolonged pleural effusion. Centres with fewer patients (<6%) with prolonged pleural effusion and fewer (<41%) complications had a shorter length of stay (<10 days; sensitivity 1.0; specificity 0.71; area under the curve 0.96). Avoiding deep hypothermic circulatory arrest and higher weight-for-age z-score were associated with a lower percentage of patients with prolonged effusions (<9.5%; sensitivity 1.0; specificity = 0.86; area under the curve 0.98).
Fontan perioperative practices varied widely among study centres. Strategies to decrease the duration of pleural effusion and minimise complications may decrease the length of stay. Further research regarding deep hypothermic circulatory arrest is needed to understand its association with prolonged pleural effusion.