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Care Lags For People Who Have a Stroke in Hospital, Study Finds

Update Date: Oct 06, 2014 10:24 AM EDT
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For every minute of delay in treatment of stroke, people typically lose two million brain cells. Yet, according to a new study, those delays can be longer when people experience a stroke in a hospital. 

Researchers looked at data from acute care facilities in Ontario over nine years. They also examined stroke care delivery and outcomes for two groups: those who had a stroke in the community (about 32,000 people), and those who had a stroke while already hospitalized for another reason (just over 1,000 cases), such as, for example, a hip replacement. 

"Intuitively, you would imagine that having a stroke in the hospital is the best place possible, and that is just not the case," said Dr. Alexandra Saltman, a third year internal medicine resident at the University of Toronto, and one of the authors of the Code Stroke on the Ward study.

Compared to the patients brought into a hospital from the community, people with in-hospital strokes:

waited significantly longer from the time stroke symptoms were recognized to neuroimaging (i.e., a CT scan);

waited longer from the time a stroke was confirmed to getting clot-busting drugs; and

were less likely to receive clot-busting drugs than those who were admitted following strokes outside of hospitals, even when they were eligible, the press release added.

"There is evidence that people do worse when they have a stroke in the hospital, and not just because they are already sicker," says Dr. Saltman.

The study was provided by the Heart and Stoke Foundation of Canada. 

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