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San Francisco (California USA) is a relatively compact city with a population of 884,000 and nine stroke centers within a 47 square mile area. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) transport distances and times are short and there are currently no Mobile Stroke Units (MSUs).
This study evaluated EMS activation to computed tomography (CT [EMS-CT]) and EMS activation to thrombolysis (EMS-TPA) times for acute stroke in the first two years after implementation of an emergency department (ED) focused, direct EMS-to-CT protocol entitled “Mission Protocol” (MP) at a safety net hospital in San Francisco and compared performance to published reports from MSUs. The EMS times were abstracted from ambulance records. Geometric means were calculated for MP data and pooled means were similarly calculated from published MSU data.
From July 2017 through June 2019, a total of 423 patients with suspected stroke were evaluated under the MP, and 166 of these patients were either ultimately diagnosed with ischemic stroke or were treated as a stroke but later diagnosed as a stroke mimic. The EMS and treatment time data were available for 134 of these patients with 61 patients (45.5%) receiving thrombolysis, with mean EMS-CT and EMS-TPA times of 41 minutes (95% CI, 39-43) and 63 minutes (95% CI, 57-70), respectively. The pooled estimates for MSUs suggested a mean EMS-CT time of 35 minutes (95% CI, 27-45) and a mean EMS-TPA time of 48 minutes (95% CI, 39-60). The MSUs achieved faster EMS-CT and EMS-TPA times (P <.0001 for each).
In a moderate-sized, urban setting with high population density, MP was able to achieve EMS activation to treatment times for stroke thrombolysis that were approximately 15 minutes slower than the published performance of MSUs.
Deficits in episodic memory are frequently reported after ischemic stroke. In standard clinical care, episodic memory is assessed after a 20–30 min delay, with abnormal memory decay over this period being characterized as rapid forgetting (RF). Previous studies have shown abnormal forgetting over a prolonged interval (days to weeks) despite normal acquisition, referred to as accelerated long-term forgetting (ALF).
We examined whether ALF is present in stroke patients (N = 91) using immediate testing (T1), testing after a short delay (20–30 min, T2), and testing after a prolonged delay (one week, T3). Based on performance compared to matched controls (N = 85), patients were divided into (1) patients without forgetting, (2) patients with RF between T1 and T2, and (3) patients with ALF at T3. Furthermore, confidence ratings were assessed.
ALF was present in a moderate amount of stroke patients (17%), but ALF was even more prevalent in our stroke sample than RF after a 20–30 min delay (which was found in only 13% of our patients). Patients reported a lower confidence for their responses, independent of their actual performance.
Adding a one-week delayed measurement may potentially assist in identifying patients with memory decrements that may otherwise go undetected.
The effect of hormonal therapy has been extensively studied in women. However, similar data on male-to-female (MTF) transgenders, another important population that receives hormonal therapy is lacking. Existing studies in MTF transgenders are skewed toward mental health and health-harming behaviors while few have focused on chronic health conditions. Our study aims to review the existing data on stroke in MTF transgenders and perform a quantitative analysis on the frequency of this condition in this special population.
PubMed, Cochrane, Scopus, Embase, ClinicalTrials.gov, and Web of Science were systematically searched for studies that reported data on the occurrence of cerebrovascular diseases in MTF transgenders. We reported the hormonal regimens, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of stroke in MTF transgenders. A meta-analysis of proportions was performed by the random-effects model to compute for the frequency of cerebrovascular events in MTF transgenders.
Fourteen studies were included in the qualitative analysis while five studies were included in the quantitative analysis. A total of 109 MTF transgenders (Mean 14; range 1–53) suffered a cerebrovascular event. Random-effect modeling analysis showed an overall estimated frequency of 2% for cerebrovascular events in transgenders with a moderate degree of heterogeneity (I2 = 62%).
Hormonal therapy in MTF transgenders may confer cardiovascular risks in this population. However, more population-based studies that include clinical characteristics and outcomes of chronic health diseases in MTF transgenders are warranted. Such studies may be crucial in directing future guidelines on the health care and management of MTF transgenders.
Mental fatigue, ‘brain fog’, and difficulties maintaining engagement are commonly reported issues in a range of neurological and psychiatric conditions. Traditional sustained attention tasks commonly measure this capacity as the ability to detect target stimuli based on sensory features in the auditory or visual domains. However, with this approach, discrete target stimuli may exogenously capture attention to aid detection, thereby masking deficits in the ability to endogenously sustain attention over time.
To address this, we developed the Continuous Temporal Expectancy Task (CTET) where individuals continuously monitor a stream of patterned stimuli alternating at a fixed temporal interval (690 ms) and detect an infrequently occurring target stimulus defined by a prolonged temporal duration (1020 ms or longer). As such, sensory properties of target and non-target stimuli are perceptually identical and differ only in temporal duration. Using the CTET, we assessed stroke survivors with unilateral right hemisphere damage (N = 14), a cohort in which sustained attention deficits have been extensively reported.
Stroke survivors had overall lower target detection accuracy compared with neurologically healthy age-matched older controls (N = 18). Critically, stroke survivors performance was characterised by significantly steeper within-block performance decrements, which occurred within short temporal windows (˜3 ½ min), and were restored by the break periods between blocks.
These findings suggest that continuous temporal monitoring taxes sustained attention processes to capture clinical deficits in this capacity over time, and outline a precise measure of the endogenous processes hypothesised to underpin sustained attention deficits following right hemisphere stroke.
This systematic review aimed to identify and appraise the evidence for online peer-support interventions for caregivers of stroke survivors (with and without aphasia), and people with dementia, traumatic brain injury (TBI), Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Research Design and Methods:
Systematic review conducted in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Five databases were systematically searched up until September 2020: EMBASE, PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus and Web of Science. Two reviewers independently screened titles, abstracts and full-text articles. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed using Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) and Mixed-Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) scales. Interventions were described using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist.
A total of 3026 records were identified from database searches. Following screening, 18 studies reporting 17 interventions were included in this review. Most studies (n = 13) reported interventions for caregivers of people with dementia. All studies incorporated an element of peer support as part of the intervention, however, most interventions (n = 15) comprised both psychosocial and educational elements. Statistically significant changes were reported for 11 interventions in one or more of the following domains: caregiver knowledge, mental health, stress, depression, distress, burden, self-efficacy, mastery, helplessness and perceived support. Qualitative outcomes included perceived reductions in stress and increased emotional and informational support.
Discussion and Implications:
Positive changes in caregiver outcomes were identified in response to multi-component online interventions (i.e., peer support in addition to education). Peer support was often poorly described, limiting the conclusions that could be drawn about the intervention components which result in better outcomes. Online interventions may provide an accessible and effective means of supporting caregivers.
Systematic studies about the impact of unilateral brain damage on the different body representations (body schema, body structural representation, and body semantics) are still rare. Aim of this study was to evaluate body representation deficits in a relatively large sample of patients with unilateral brain damage and to investigate the impact of right or left brain damage on body representations (BRs), independently from deficits in other cognitive processes.
Sixty-four patients with unilateral stroke (22 with left brain damage, LBD; 31 with right brain damage without neglect, RBD-N; 11 with right brain damage with neglect, RBD+N) and 41 healthy individuals underwent a specific battery including BR as well as control tasks.
In more than a third of the sample, selective (37.5%) and pure (31%) deficits of BR were presented and equally distributed among the different BRs (˜10% for each representation), with selective (27.2%) and pure (22.7%) body schema deficit mainly presented after left brain damage. As a group, patients with unilateral brain damage, independently of the side of lesion (LBD, RBD-N, RBD+N), had significantly worse performance on body structural representation with respect to healthy individuals, whereas LBD had numerically worse performance on body schema with respect to healthy individuals and RBD-N. No significant differences among groups were found on body semantics.
BR deficits are not a rare consequence of unilateral brain damage and are independent of a more general cognitive dysfunction. Accordingly, the need for an accurate assessment and specific neuropsychological training in clinical settings is discussed.
Childhood acute arterial ischemic stroke (AIS) is diagnosed at a median of 23 hours post-symptom onset, delaying treatment. Pediatric stroke pathways can expedite diagnosis. Our goal was to understand the similarities and differences between Canadian pediatric stroke protocols with the aim of optimizing AIS management.
We contacted neurologists at all 16 Canadian pediatric hospitals regarding AIS management. Established protocols were analyzed for similarities and differences in eight domains.
Response rate was 100%. Seven (44%) centers have an established AIS protocol and two (13%) have a protocol under development. Seven centers do not have a protocol; two redirect patients to adult neurology, five rely on a case-by-case approach for management. Analysis of the seven protocols revealed differences in: 1) IV-tPA dosage: age-dependent 0.75–0.9 mg/kg (N = 1) versus age-independent 0.9 mg/kg (N = 6), with maximum doses of 75 mg (N = 1) or 90 mg (N = 6); 2) IV-tPA lower age cut-off: 2 years (N = 5) versus 3 or 10 years (each N = 1); 3) IV-tPA exclusion criteria: PedNIHSS score <4 (N = 3), <5 (N = 1), <6 (N = 3); 4) first choice of pre-treatment neuroimaging: computed tomography (CT) (N = 3), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (N = 2) or either (N = 2); 5) intra-arterial tPA use (N = 3) and; 6) mechanical thrombectomy timeframe: <6 hour (N = 3), <24 hour (N = 2), unspecified (N = 2).
Although 44% of Canadian pediatric hospitals have established AIS management pathways, several differences remain among centers. Some criteria (dosage, imaging) reflect adult AIS literature. Canadian expert consensus regarding IV-tPA and endovascular treatment should be established to standardize and implement AIS protocols across Canada.
We sought to examine the prospective associations of specific fruit consumption, in particular flavonoid-rich fruit (FRF) consumption, with the risk of stroke and subtypes of stroke in a Japanese population. A study followed a total of 39 843 men and 47 334 women aged 44–76 years, and free of CVD, diabetes and cancer at baseline since 1995 and 1998 to the end of 2009 and 2012, respectively. Data on total and specific FRF consumption for each participant were obtained using a self-administrated FFQ. The hazard ratios (HR) of stroke in relation to total and specific FRF consumption were estimated through Cox proportional hazards regression models. During a median follow-up of 13·1 years, 4091 incident stroke cases (2557 cerebral infarctions and 1516 haemorrhagic strokes) were documented. After adjustment for age, BMI, study area, lifestyles, dietary factors and other risk factors, it was found that total FRF consumption was associated with a significantly lower risk of stroke in women (HR = 0·70; 95 % CI 0·58, 0·84), while the association in men was not significant (HR = 0·93; 95 % CI 0·79, 1·09). As for specific FRF, consumptions of citrus fruits, strawberries and grapes were found associated with a lower stroke risk in women. Higher consumptions of FRF, in particular citrus fruits, strawberries and grapes, were associated with a lower risk of developing stroke in Japanese women.
The clinical profile of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults admitted to hospital with neurological injury is not well documented. Understanding these profiles may enable health professionals to provide more culturally responsive health care for this patient group. This study aimed to report the clinical profile of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults admitted to a regional Queensland hospital due to stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A 2-year retrospective medical record review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults (≥18 years) admitted to a regional Queensland hospital with principal diagnoses of stroke or TBI.
There were 132 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult stroke (51.5%) or TBI (48.5%) admissions. The mean ages were 56.7 years for stroke and 42.7 years for TBI. The majority of patients (83.3%) were of Aboriginal descent with others identifying as Torres Strait Islander only, or both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Patients were from 26 diverse home locations across northern Australia, primarily Outer Regional or Remote/Very Remote geographical locations. All patients’ language backgrounds were documented as English only. Over 90% of stroke and 50% of TBI patients presented with medical co-morbidities.
Patients had diverse geographical locations and cultural backgrounds, with many likely impacted by dislocation from home and country, as well as potential delays in receiving treatment. Despite this diversity, English was documented in patients’ medical records as their only language. The majority of patients also presented with multiple medical co-morbidities. Health professionals should consider these factors to ensure patients receive optimum and culturally responsive health care.
RCTs provide evidence that stroke risk is reduced by several risk factor control strategies reviewed in this chapter: adhering to a Mediterranean Diet , avoiding long-term estrogen hormone replacement, and treating severe obesity with gastric balloons or bariatric surgery. In addition, observational evidence suggests stroke risk is reduced by quitting smoking, controlling blood glucose, losing weight in moderately obese individuals, exercising regularly, abandoning heavy alcohol consumption, and improving diet (less salt and more unsaturated fats) via other approaches. Optimal goals for risk factor control are delineated in the American Heart Association Life’s Simple 7 ideal targets. The beneficial effects of these measures are likely largely mediated by amelioration of well-established risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and coagulation status. To achieve these lifestyle changes, both the individual and the community must contribute. Governments have a responsibility to: improve public education; increase access to healthy foods and built environments with pedestrian, bicycle, and exercise infrastructure; and use regulation, legislation, and taxation to discourage hazardous lifestyle behaviours (e.g. smoking, alcohol, and perhaps salt or sugar in foods). Continued cultural change is also required among individuals and communities to promote regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and minimal exposure to smoking in everyday life.
Worldwide, stroke is a most common disabling disorder that requires rehabilitation services if curative and preventive treatments fail. There is growing evidence that intensive rehabilitation offered by a multidisciplinary team is effective to improve outcome in terms of independent daily living and health–related quality of life. This conclusion is based on systematic reviews and recent pragmatic phase III and IV trials. Although intensity of practice is an important part of effective stroke care, very early mobilization should be restricted and applied in small doses within 24 hours post-stroke. Systematic review shows that evidence-based therapies for the upper limb are constraint–induced movement therapy and upper limb robotics, whereas interventions that could be beneficial to gait include fitness training and high-intensive, task-specific training. A number of novel therapies, such as combining exercise therapy with transcranial direct current stimulation, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation or pharmacological interventions, and virtual reality are under way. However, the evidence for most of these therapies is still unclear and in its infancy.
Evidence is limited on how to synthesize and incorporate the views of stakeholders into a multisite pragmatic trial and how much academic teams change study design and protocol in response to stakeholder input. This qualitative study describes how stakeholders contributed to the design, conduct, and dissemination of findings of a multisite pragmatic clinical trial, the COMprehensive Post-Acute Stroke Services (COMPASS) Study. We engaged stakeholders as integral research partners by embedding them in study committees and community resource networks that supported local sites. Data stemmed from formal focus groups and continuous participation in working groups. Guided by Grounded Theory, we extracted themes from focus group and meeting notes. These were discussed as a team and with other stakeholder groups for feasibility. A consensus approach was used. Stakeholder input changed many aspects of the study including: the care model that treated stroke as a chronic condition after hospital discharge, training for hospital-based providers who often lacked awareness of the barriers to recovery that patients face, support for caregivers who were essential for stroke patients’ recovery, and for community-based health and social service providers whose services can support recovery yet often go underutilized. Stakeholders brought value to both pragmatic research and health service delivery. Future studies should test the impact of elements of study implementation informed by stakeholders vs those that are not.
Physical evaluation and ancillary testing need to be interpreted in a context. Here, we focus on the relevance of history taking and how missing or misinterpreting clues in the history can affect diagnosis.
To relate empirically derived dietary patterns identified using the Treelet Transform (TT) to risk of stroke.
A prospective cohort study using the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort. Dietary information was obtained in 1993–1997 using a validated semi-quantitative FFQ. Incident stroke diagnoses, obtained from the Danish National Patient Register, were verified by record review. Dietary patterns were generated using TT, and participants were categorised into quintiles based on their adherence to each pattern. Sex-specific Cox proportional hazard models estimated associations between dietary patterns and stroke.
55 061 men and women aged 50–64 years at the time of enrolment.
Three dietary patterns explaining 15·4 % of the total variance were identified: a Prudent pattern, a Western pattern and a Wine & Snacks pattern. During a follow-up time of 10 years, 1513 cases occurred. Comparing the highest to lowest quintiles of intake, adherence to a Prudent pattern was inversely associated with stroke (HRmen 0·74, 95 % CI 0·60, 0·91; HRwomen 0·82, 95 % CI 0·62, 1·08), while adherence to a Western pattern was associated with greater risk (HRmen 1·61, 95 % CI 1·23, 2·10; HRwomen 2·01, 95 % CI 1·48, 2·72). No association was found for a Wine & Snacks pattern for women, but a weak inverse association was found for men (HR 0·81, 95 % CI 0·67, 0·99).
The results of this study are broadly in line with current recommendations for a healthy diet to prevent stroke.
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.
To evaluate an abbreviated NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB) protocol that can be administered remotely without any in-person assessments, and explore the agreement between prorated scores from the abbreviated protocol and standard scores from the full protocol.
Participant-level age-corrected NIHTB-CB data were extracted from six studies in individuals with a history of stroke, mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), treatment-resistant psychosis, and healthy controls, with testing administered under standard conditions. Prorated fluid and total cognition scores were estimated using regression equations that excluded the three fluid cognition NIHTB-CB instruments which cannot be administered remotely. Paired t tests and intraclass correlations (ICCs) were used to compare the standard and prorated scores.
Data were available for 245 participants. For fluid cognition, overall prorated scores were higher than standard scores (mean difference = +4.5, SD = 14.3; p < 0.001; ICC = 0.86). For total cognition, overall prorated scores were higher than standard scores (mean difference = +2.7, SD = 8.3; p < 0.001; ICC = 0.88). These differences were significant in the stroke and mTBI groups, but not in the healthy control or psychosis groups.
Prorated scores from an abbreviated NIHTB-CB protocol are not a valid replacement for the scores from the standard protocol. Alternative approaches to administering the full protocol, or corrections to scoring of the abbreviated protocol, require further study and validation.
Recurrent events account for approximately one-third of all strokes and are associated with greater disability and mortality than first-time strokes. Blood pressure (BP) is the most important modifiable risk factor. Objectives were to determine the proportion of post-stroke patients enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation (CR) meeting systolic and diastolic BP (SBP/DBP) targets and to determine correlates of meeting these targets.
A retrospective study of 1,804 consecutively enrolled post-stroke patients in a CR program was conducted. Baseline data (database records 2006–2017) included demographics, anthropometrics, clinical/medication history, and resting BP. Multivariate analyses determined predictors of achieving BP targets.
Mean age was 64.1 ± 12.7 years, median days from stroke 210 (IQR 392), with most patients being male (70.6%; n = 1273), overweight (66.8%; n = 1196), and 64.2% diagnosed with hypertension (n = 1159), and 11.8% (n = 213) with sleep apnea. A mean of 1.69 ± 1.2 antihypertensives were prescribed, with 26% (n = 469) of patients prescribed 3–4 antihypertensives. SBP target was met by 71% (n = 1281) of patients, 83.3% (n = 1502) met DBP target, and 64.3% (n = 1160) met both targets. Correlates of meeting SBP target were not having diabetes, younger age, fewer prescribed antihypertensives, and more recent program entry. Correlates of meeting DBP target were not having diabetes, older age, fewer prescribed antihypertensives, and more recent stroke.
Up to one-third of patients were not meeting BP targets. Patients with diabetes, and those prescribed multiple antihypertensives are at greater risk for poorly controlled SBP and DBP. Reasons for poor BP control such as untreated sleep apnea and medication non-adherence need to be investigated.