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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.
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.
The study was conducted to test the hypothesis that nitroglycerin (NTG) increases cerebral perfusion focally and globally in acute ischemic stroke patients, using serial perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI) magnetic resonance imaging measurements.
Patients and methods:
Thirty-five patients underwent PWI immediately before and 72 h after administration of a transdermal NTG patch or no treatment. Patients with baseline mean arterial pressure (MAP) > 100 mmHg (NTG group, n = 20) were treated with transdermal NTG (0.2 mg/h) for 72 h, without a nitrate-free interval. Patients with MAP ≤ 100 mmHg (untreated group, n = 15) were not treated. The primary outcome measure was absolute cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the hypoperfused region at 72 h.
The mean baseline absolute CBF in the hypoperfused region was similar in the NTG group (33.3 ± 10.2 ml/100 g/min) and untreated (32.7 ± 8.4 ml/100 g/min, p = 0.4) groups. The median (IQR) baseline infarct volume was 10.4 (2.5–49.3) ml in the NTG group and 32.6 (8.6–96.7) ml in the untreated group (p = 0.09). MAP change in the NTG group was 1.2 ± 12.6 and 8 ± 20.7 mmHg at 2 h and 72 h, respectively. Mean absolute CBF in the hypoperfused region at 72 h was similar in the NTG (29.9 ± 12 ml/100 g/min) and untreated groups (24.1 ± 10 ml/100 g/min, p = 0.8). The median infarct volume increased in untreated (11.8 (5.7–44.2) ml) than the NTG group (3.2 (0.5–16.5) ml; p = 0.033) on univariate analysis, however, there was no difference on regression analysis.
NTG was not associated with improvement in cerebral perfusion in acute ischemic stroke patients.
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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