Use of Stroke Prevention Services Can Be Improved

Regular exercise, rehabilitation and smoking cessation underutilized

FRIDAY, Mar. 6 (HealthDay News) -- There is widespread underutilization of stroke secondary prevention services, according to a report published online Mar. 5 in Stroke.

Joseph S. Ross, M.D., of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, and colleagues used the 2005 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System to extract data on 11,862 adults with a history of stroke, of whom 54 percent were women, 16 percent were aged 80 or older, 13 percent were non-Hispanic blacks and 23 percent lived in Stroke Belt states.

Although 91 percent of subjects reported current use of anti-hypertensive medication, only 31 percent reported use of post-stroke outpatient rehabilitation services, while 57 percent reported doing regular exercise and 66 percent reported receiving counseling to help them quit smoking, the investigators found. Men were more likely than women to report using outpatient rehabilitation and regular exercise, the researchers note. There were few race biases in the services surveyed, but blacks were more likely than whites to use post-stroke rehabilitation services, but less likely to report pneumococcal vaccination, the report indicates.

"Suboptimal care has important implications for the care of adults who have had a stroke," the authors write. "Regular exercise, reported by 57 percent in our study, is among the most straightforward stroke prevention strategies, even if limited only to modest leisure-time physical activity, and needs to be prioritized for counseling by primary care physicians and neurologists."

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Jane Parry

Jane Parry

Published on March 06, 2009

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