Organized care can prevent nine out of 10 in-hospital stroke deaths, Canadian study shows

    NEW ORLEANS, LA, Feb. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Nine out of 10 in-hospital deaths
could be prevented within the first week following stroke by putting in place
organized care, according to startling new research from the Registry of the
Canadian Stroke Network presented today at the International Stroke
    This is the first time data have shown such a striking link between
organized care -- giving patients access to physiotherapy or occupational
therapy, stroke-team assessment or admission to a specialized unit -- and
in-hospital stroke mortality. The study looked at 3,631 patients admitted to
11 Canadian hospitals due to ischemic stroke between July 2003 and March 2005.
    The mortality rate (adjusted for age, gender and stroke severity) for
those who received organized care post-stroke was 2% at seven days, compared
with 22.5% for those who didn't get organized care. At 30 days post-stroke,
the mortality rate for patients who received organized care was 6.3%, compared
to 28.1% for those who did not; at one year post-stroke, the mortality rate
was 17.9% for those who received organized care, compared to 34.7% for those
who did not.
    "This is a stunning illustration of the impact of providing organized
care to stroke patients," says study leader Dr. Gustavo Saposnik of the
Canadian Stroke Network, who is based at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.
"This very issue is under intense debate in the stroke world as hospitals
organize services to meet the needs of patients. It is sometimes difficult to
understand that a 'stroke unit' or 'physiotherapy' is a treatment, in much the
same way as a pharmacological intervention or a medical procedure like bypass
surgery or appendectomy."
    The study showed that escalating levels of access to organized care were
associated with improved stroke survival. It also showed that even when
patients receiving higher levels of care had more severe strokes, their
outcome was better.
    "These research findings should be a call-to-action for all ministries of
health and regional health authorities," says Elizabeth Woodbury, Executive
Director of the Canadian Stroke Strategy, a joint initiative of the Canadian
Stroke Network and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The Canadian Stroke
Strategy is a national effort to reorganize and improve stroke prevention,
care and rehabilitation.
    Canadian Stroke Network Scientific Director Dr. Antoine Hakim says
today's findings provide "powerful justification" for the Canadian Stroke
Strategy. "We're all familiar with treating heart attacks as emergencies, and
the need for major hospitals to have cardiac care units. This research shows
that the same system needs to be in place to care for stroke patients in all
parts of the country."
    "Together we're supporting the development of organized stroke care in
every province," says Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of
Canada. "We're working to make these research results a reality for every
    The Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network is the largest clinical
database of patients with acute stroke.

    About the Canadian Stroke Network (

    The Canadian Stroke Network includes more than 100 of Canada's leading
scientists and clinicians from 24 universities who work collaboratively on
various aspects of stroke. The Network, which is headquartered at the
University of Ottawa, also includes partners from industry, the non-profit
sector, provincial and federal governments. The Canadian Stroke Network, one
of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence, is committed to reducing the
physical, social and economic impact of stroke on the lives of individual
Canadians and on society as a whole.

For further information:

For further information: Cathy Campbell, Canadian Stroke Network, (613)
558-6691 (cell)

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Canadian Stroke Network

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