Practice patterns and outcomes after stroke across countries at different economic levels (INTERSTROKE): an international observational study
Summary Background Stroke disproportionately affects people in low-income and middle-income countries. Although improvements in stroke care and outcomes have been reported in high-income countries, little is known about practice and outcomes in low and middle-income countries. We aimed to compare patterns of care available and their association with patient outcomes across countries at different economic levels. Methods We studied the patterns and effect of practice variations (ie, treatments used and access to services) among participants in the INTERSTROKE study, an international observational study that enrolled 13 447 stroke patients from 142 clinical sites in 32 countries between Jan 11, 2007, and Aug 8, 2015. We supplemented patient data with a questionnaire about health-care and stroke service facilities at all participating hospitals. Using univariate and multivariate regression analyses to account for patient casemix and service clustering, we estimated the association between services available, treatments given, and patient outcomes (death or dependency) at 1 month. Findings We obtained full information for 12 342 (92%) of 13 447 INTERSTROKE patients, from 108 hospitals in 28 countries; 2576 from 38 hospitals in ten high-income countries and 9766 from 70 hospitals in 18 low and middle-income countries. Patients in low-income and middle-income countries more often had severe strokes, intracerebral haemorrhage, poorer access to services, and used fewer investigations and treatments (p Interpretation Evidence-based treatments, diagnostics, and stroke units were less commonly available or used in low and middle-income countries. Access to stroke units and appropriate use of antiplatelet treatment were associated with improved recovery. Improved care and facilities in low-income and middle-income countries are essential to improve outcomes. Funding Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.
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