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Poverty Not Linked to Delay in 911 Response for Stroke

However, low socioeconomic status substantially increases risk of stroke in people between the ages of 65 and 74

FRIDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Residents of low-income areas do not have meaningfully longer delays between calling 911 and receiving medical care for a stroke than those in higher-income areas, but low socioeconomic status is linked to a substantially increased risk of stroke in people between the ages of 65 and 74, according to two studies published online May 12 in Stroke.

In the first study, Dawn O. Kleindorfer, M.D., of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio, and colleagues analyzed hospital admission data on patients who had a stroke or transient ischemic attack at home and used emergency medical services (EMS). Although there were small delays in pre-hospital times associated with poorer communities, black race and increasing age, they were not clinically significant. "Delays related to public recognition of stroke symptoms, and limited use of 911, are likely much more important than these small delays that occur with EMS systems," the authors write.

In another study, Mauricio Avendano, M.Sc., of the University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed data on 2,812 elderly U.S. men and women and found substantial disparities in stroke incidence linked to socioeconomic status in people between the ages of 65 and 74. In this group, lower status was linked to higher stroke incidence for education (hazard ratio 2.07) as well as income (HR 2.08). The association crossed over in the over-74 age group.

"Policies to improve social and economic resources at early old age, and interventions to improve diabetes management, depression, social networks and functioning in the disadvantaged elderly can contribute to reduce stroke disparities," the authors write.

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