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Optimal stroke care requires access to resources such as neuroimaging, acute revascularization, rehabilitation, and stroke prevention services, which may not be available in rural areas. We aimed to determine geographic access to stroke care for residents of rural communities in the province of Ontario, Canada.
We used the Ontario Road Network File database linked with the 2016 Ontario Acute Stroke Care Resource Inventory to estimate the proportion of people in rural communities, defined as those with a population size <10,000, who were within 30, 60, and 240 minutes of travel time by car from stroke care services, including brain imaging, thrombolysis treatment centers, stroke units, stroke prevention clinics, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and endovascular treatment centers.
Of the 1,496,262 people residing in rural communities, the majority resided within 60 minutes of driving time to a center with computed tomography (85%), thrombolysis (81%), a stroke unit (68%), a stroke prevention clinic (74%), or inpatient rehabilitation (77.0%), but a much lower proportion (32%) were within 60 minutes of driving time to a center capable of providing endovascular thrombectomy (EVT).
Most rural Ontario residents have appropriate geographic access to stroke services, with the exception of EVT. This information may be useful for jurisdictions seeking to optimize the regional organization of stroke care services.
Traditional variables used to explain survival following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) account for only 72% of survival, suggesting that other unknown factors may influence outcomes. Research on other diseases suggests that neighbourhood factors may partly determine health outcomes. Yet, this approach has rarely been used for OHCA. This work outlines a methodology to investigate multiple neighbourhood factors as determinants of OHCA outcomes.
A retrospective, observational cohort study design will be used. All adult non-emergency medical service witnessed OHCAs of cardiac etiology within the city of Toronto between 2006 and 2010 will be included. Event details will be extracted from the Toronto site of the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Epistry—Cardiac Arrest, an existing population-based dataset of consecutive OHCA patients. Geographic information systems technology will be used to assign patients to census tracts. Neighbourhood variables to be explored include the Ontario Marginalization Index (deprivation, dependency, ethnicity, and instability), crime rate, and density of family physicians. Hierarchical logistic regression analysis will be used to explore the association between neighbourhood characteristics and 1) survival-to-hospital discharge, 2) return-of-spontaneous circulation at hospital arrival, and 3) provision of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Receiver operating characteristics curves will evaluate each model’s ability to discriminate between those with and without each outcome.
This study will determine the role of neighbourhood characteristics in OHCA and their association with clinical outcomes. The results can be used as the basis to focus on specific neighbourhoods for facilitating educational interventions, CPR awareness programs, and higher utilization of automatic defibrillation devices.
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