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Stroke is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Currently more than two thirds of the burden of stroke occurs in developing countries. Development of strategies for prevention and management of stroke in these countries requires data on incidence, risk factors and management practices that are relevant to the specific socioeconomic and cultural factors present in these populations. Yet currently available data come almost exclusively from developed countries. Herein, we aim to discuss some of the issues, impediments and opportunities faced by researchers undertaking population-based studies on the burden of stroke in developing countries. Important criteria to be addressed include the establishment of productive working relationships with both local collaborators and the community; the identification of an appropriate population group; and development of a working protocol which takes into account potential language barriers and the need for cultural sensitivity. When possible the protocol should include similar methods to studies conducted elsewhere so that comparisons can be made between regions. Furthermore, the results of such studies should be disseminated in an appropriate and timely manner to the local community and appropriate government and nongovernment organisations. This will enable the development and implementation of prevention and intervention programs to reduce the impact of stroke in these nations.
Introduction: Brief cognitive tests such as the Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Informant Questionnaire for Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE) have been used to detect cognitive impairment and dementia in studies of stroke patients. However, there are few data on their validity for such use. We have evaluated their validity in detecting cognitive impairment not dementia (CIND) and dementia in a community-based sample of first-ever stroke patients.
Methods: The standardized MMSE (S-MMSE) and the 16-item IQCODE were administered to 79 patients 1 year after a first-ever stroke. CIND and dementia were diagnosed independently using a comprehensive cognitive battery. The performances of the two tests were evaluated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses. Combined performance was evaluated when their scores were used in parallel (the “or rule”), in series (the “and rule”) or as a weighted sum (the “weighted sum rule”).
Results: Both tests were extremely poor at detecting CIND individually and in combination. For dementia, at traditional cut-points, the S-MMSE (≤23) was insensitive (0.50, 95% CI 0.16–0.84) and the IQCODE (≥3.30) nonspecific (0.63, 95% CI 0.51–0.75). An acceptable balance between sensitivity and specificity was achieved for dementia using the “or rule” combination, but with only modest positive predictive value.
Conclusions: The S-MMSE and the IQCODE were individually poor at detecting CIND and dementia after a nonaphasic first-ever stroke. The combination was useful in detecting dementia but it does not replace the need for detailed neuropsychological tests.
Objectives: To outline the development, structure, data assumptions, and application of an Australian economic model for stroke (Model of Resource Utilization, Costs, and Outcomes for Stroke [MORUCOS]).
Methods: The model has a linked spreadsheet format with four modules to describe the disease burden and treatment pathways, estimate prevalence-based and incidence-based costs, and derive life expectancy and quality of life consequences. The model uses patient-level, community-based, stroke cohort data and macro-level simulations. An interventions module allows options for change to be consistently evaluated by modifying aspects of the other modules. To date, model validation has included sensitivity testing, face validity, and peer review. Further validation of technical and predictive accuracy is needed. The generic pathway model was assessed by comparison with a stroke subtypes (ischemic, hemorrhagic, or undetermined) approach and used to determine the relative cost-effectiveness of four interventions.
Results: The generic pathway model produced lower costs compared with a subtypes version (total average first-year costs/case AUD$15,117 versus AUD$17,786, respectively). Optimal evidence-based uptake of anticoagulation therapy for primary and secondary stroke prevention and intravenous thrombolytic therapy within 3 hours of stroke were more cost-effective than current practice (base year, 1997).
Conclusions: MORUCOS is transparent and flexible in describing Australian stroke care and can effectively be used to systematically evaluate a range of different interventions. Adjusting results to account for stroke subtypes, as they influence cost estimates, could enhance the generic model.
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