BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Despite efforts to reduce the delay between stroke onset and new interventional treatments, no studies have analyzed the repercussions of early neurological attention on the clinical outcome of stroke patients.
Data were obtained from 721 patients admitted consecutively for a transient ischemic attack or stroke to the neurology departments of 18 Spanish hospitals that followed the same diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines in the acute phase. Factors assessed were age, sex, Canadian Stroke Scale score on admission, previous Barthel Index, and delay before attention by the first physician, by emergency services, by a neurologist, and before hospitalization. Patients' outcomes were classified as good (Barthel Index > 60) or poor (Barthel Index < or = 60 or in-hospital death) depending on patient's functional capacity on discharge. The individual contribution of each of these variables on clinical outcome was estimated with logistic regression analysis.
Patients in worse neurological condition on admission presented earlier to the first physician, emergency department, and neurologist. The mortality rate was not significantly modified by early or late presentation at the different medical stages. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the relative risk of poor outcome in patients seen by the neurologist after the first 6 hours from symptom onset was 5.6 (95% confidence interval, 3.4 to 9.2) (P < .0001). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that the delay before the patient received neurological attention correlated positively with the duration of hospitalization (P < .0001). The delays before the patient was seen by the first physician or the emergency department and before hospitalization were not independently related to clinical outcome or length of hospitalization.
Early neurological attention in acute stroke is related to better functional outcome and shorter hospitalization.
CITATION Stroke. 1995 Dec;26(12):2233-7
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