Health care follow-up after stroke: opportunities for secondary prevention

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Stroke patients have a 15-fold increased risk of a recurrence, but management of risk factors following stroke has been found to be unsatisfactory. Little is known about health service follow-up of patients after stroke or, consequently, the opportunities for providing secondary prevention to patients. Objective. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between health service follow-up and management of risk factors after stroke. Methods. The study used data from the population-based South London Stroke Register, collected prospectively between 1995 and 1998. Main measures included risk factor change and follow-up by hospital physicians, GPs and district nurses. Logistic regression was used to determine relationships between these measures. Results. Seven hundred and seventeen stroke survivors were registered with first stroke between 1995 and 1998. Most patients were followed-up on at least one occasion by at least one service within the first 3 months after stroke: 51% saw a hospital specialist; 72% saw a GP; and 14% saw a community nurse. However, 14% of patients did not see a doctor at all. Disabled patients were less likely to see a doctor, only 17% of severely disabled patients seeing a hospital specialist [odds ratio (OR) 0.17; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.07-0.41]. Doctor-led follow-up was related to treatment of physiological risk factors (e.g. 73% of hypertensive patients who had seen a GP were treated compared with 59% who had seen only a hospital specialist and 47% who had seen neither). Contact with health services was not associated with behavioural risk factor change. Conclusions. Opportunities for delivering secondary prevention existed through a range of services, but problems of continuity and effectiveness of care are evident. Further investigation is needed to determine how best to intervene to address these issues. In other words, whether interventions should concentrate on improving access and availability of current services, or whether the focus should be on making current strategies more effective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378 - 382
Number of pages5
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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