Recurrent Stroke Often Missed in Nursing Homes

Many residents not given clot-preventing treatment, study finds

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THURSDAY, Oct. 9, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Minorities and older Americans are often under-treated for recurrent stroke, says a study in the Oct. 10 online issue of Stroke.

The study found that only half of older Americans living in nursing homes are treated to prevent recurrent stroke. The study also revealed that racial minorities in nursing homes receive blood thinners for recurrent stroke less often than whites. Blood thinners help prevent the blood clots that can result in stroke.

Recurrent stroke is a major cause of death and disability among stroke survivors.

Researchers examined data on nursing home residents who'd been hospitalized for ischemic (clot-caused) stroke in Kansas, Maine, Ohio, New York and Mississippi.

They found that about 61 percent of those who were from Asia or the Pacific Islands did not receive any treatment to prevent recurrent stroke. They also found that 54 percent of Hispanics, 51 percent of blacks, 46 percent of whites and 42 percent of American Indians were not treated to prevent recurrent stroke.

"Clearly, interventions are needed to improve and increase the use of treatments for recurrent stroke in all nursing home residents," lead author Jennifer Christian, a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University's Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research in Providence, R.I., says in a prepared statement.

"Not only were important stroke-preventing drugs underused but also most residents who were eligible for anticoagulant therapy in our study did not receive it," Christian says.

"It appears that minority populations in nursing homes are at greater risk for under treatment, which is only partially explained by patient characteristics such as age, gender, physical and cognitive function, or other diseases," she adds.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about stroke.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Oct. 9, 2003

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