Newsroom

Our Stories

Few patients likely to meet stroke treatment goals: study

A majority of stroke patients are unlikely to meet treatment targets to prevent repeat stroke episodes, according to a study led by St. Michael’s Hospital neurologist Dr. Gustavo Saposnik.

Toronto, June 10, 2009

A majority of stroke patients are unlikely to meet treatment targets to prevent repeat stroke episodes, according to a study led by St. Michael’s Hospital neurologist Dr. Gustavo Saposnik.

The study found that only 20 per cent of stroke patients met the target blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels recommended to prevent future strokes. Women were less likely than men to meet the stroke treatment benchmarks. By comparison, about 30 per cent of heart disease patients met the recommended targets.

The authors of the study cited inappropriate drug or dose selection, lack of aggressive management, patient nonadherence or limited drug effectiveness as barriers to achieving target levels. A stroke survivor has a 20 per cent chance of having another stroke within two years.

The study underscores the need to examine new stroke treatment strategies, such as medical procedures and ongoing specialty care. “We must ensure we have more effective therapeutic strategies to treat patients,” said Dr. Saposnik. “By examining clinical management practices, we can better identify the gaps in patient care so that we can improve the health of stroke and heart disease patients.”

“Quality improvement strategies should target these patient subgroups so that we can develop benchmarks that better reflect clinical practice,” added St. Michael’s Hospital cardiologist Dr. Shaun Goodman, who created the database used in the study.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada, and its prevalence is expected to jump exponentially in the next two decades. Approximately 300,000 Canadians are currently living with the effects of a stroke.

The study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Heart Association, investigated 4,933 outpatients with a past history of heart attack and cerebrovascular disease (stroke) across Canada. It was a collaborative effort involving medical professionals from cardiology, endocrinology and neurology at the Hospital led by Dr. Saposnik, Dr. Andrew Yan and Dr. Goodman.

For more information: