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AHA/ASA Stroke Program Likely Applicable Outside U.S.

Applicability in Taiwan shows program could be global standard for improving stroke care

MONDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With the Guidelines-Stroke program (GWTG-Stroke) may be useful for assessing and improving the quality of stroke care and outcomes outside the United States, according to research published online Aug. 30 in Circulation.

Fang-I Hsieh, Ph.D., of Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, and colleagues evaluated the applicability of GWTG-Stroke in Taiwan using the Taiwan Stroke Registry, which included 30,599 stroke admissions between 2006 and 2008.

The investigators found that the use of early and discharge antithrombotics in Taiwan was close to GWTG-Stroke standards but that the use of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator, anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation, and lipid-lowering medication was below GWTG-Stroke standards, as was one safety indicator. Preliminary analysis revealed that compliance with selected GWTG-Stroke guidelines is linked to better outcomes. The researchers concluded that, with modification for ethnic factors, GWTG-Stroke performance measures could potentially become international standards for the assessment and improvement of the quality of stroke care and outcomes.

"Based on the Taiwan Stroke Registry findings and corresponding numbers noted in other countries (e.g., Germany), GWTG-Stroke performance measures, with some exceptions (e.g., anticoagulant for deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis), are applicable to countries outside the United States with different health care systems and economies. The GWTG-Stroke figures can serve as important global standards for improving quality of care and prevention around the world," the authors write.

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