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Many Doctors Struggle With Treating Cryptogenic Stroke

Between 51 and 70 percent of survey respondents say they do not feel confident

physician doctor

MONDAY, Oct. 12, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of American doctors do not feel confident that they can spot the reason for a stroke that strikes in the absence of a clearly established cause. The survey results were to be reported Friday at the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA)-sponsored Cryptogenic Stroke Public Health Conference in Washington, D.C.

The poll, conducted by the AHA and the ASA, involved 652 neurologists, cardiologists, hospitalists, primary care physicians, and stroke coordinators. The survey questions focused on the degree to which such medical professionals felt adequately informed about cryptogenic strokes.

Every year, about 200,000 Americans experience a stroke that seems to elude explanation, the researchers note. But the poll results showed that between 51 and 70 percent of the respondents do not feel confident that they know exactly which steps are best to take to be able to pinpoint exactly which cause might be at play for a particular patient.

"The ability to discern the causes of cryptogenic strokes has profound implications for preventing secondary strokes and improving patient outcomes," Mary Ann Bauman, M.D., chair of the American Stroke Association's advisory committee, said in an AHA/ASA news release. Bauman added that improving current preparedness to handle such strokes is "likely to require educating health care providers and the scientific community about cryptogenic stroke, appropriate work-up, applicable studies, and outcomes."

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