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Specialized Stroke Care Beneficial at Smaller Hospitals

Telemedicine system may reduce survivors' long-term risk of death and dependency

FRIDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In the management of acute stroke patients, long-term benefits are associated with care at community hospitals that have implemented a system of specialized stroke wards, continuing education and telemedicine, according to study findings released online Nov. 20 in advance of publication in an upcoming issue of the journal Stroke.

Heinrich J. Audebert, M.D., of Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London, U.K., and colleagues compared outcomes in 1,938 patients from five community hospitals participating in the Telemedical Project for Integrative Stroke Care (TEMPiS) and 1,122 patients from five matched control hospitals without specialized stroke facilities or telemedical support.

The researchers found that the TEMPiS intervention did not significantly reduce the likelihood for "death or institutional care" at either 12 months or 30 months (odds ratios, 0.89 and 0.93, respectively). But they found that the intervention was associated with a significantly decreased likelihood of "death and dependency" at 12 months and 30 months (ORs, 0.65 and 0.82, respectively).

"The present data suggest that the set-up of stroke wards in community hospitals with appropriate facilities and education supported by telemedicine-linked academic stroke centers offers a new way to provide specialized stroke care in smaller hospitals," the authors conclude.

One researcher disclosed receipt of speaker fees from Meytec GmbH (distributor of the telemedicine devices) and another researcher reported advisory board membership of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH.

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