Stroke patients respond similarly to after-stroke care, despite age difference

May 17, 2013 by April Reese Sorrow, University of Georgia

Age has little to do with how patients should be treated after suffering a stroke, according to new research from the University of Georgia.

Historically, younger receive different after-stroke intervention strategies than those over a certain age. However, Neale Chumbler, a UGA professor and head of the department of health policy and management in the College of Public Health, found patients responded equally to care efforts.

Looking at 127 Veterans Affairs medical centers and a sample of 3,196 patients treated for , or strokes caused by , Chumbler studied patient response to care quality as outpatients and if the response changed based on age. To determine risk, he looked at , responses to blood thinning medications and average , blood sugar and over a period of six months after patients were released from the hospital following a stroke.

He found little difference in health quality across the patients regardless of age. The results of the study were published in the April issue of the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development.

"Watching these important risk indicators helps prevent future complications," he said. "We want to ensure patients don't suffer another stroke or heart attack."

Using the largest integrated medical system in the U.S., electronic data from the VA medical centers allowed researchers to control for stroke severity, patient socio-demographics and clinical- and facility-level characteristics through a hierarchical linear mixed modeling. Previous studies relied heavily on self-reported information.

"It is an integrated system with , which makes it a perfect laboratory for quality improvement research," he said.

According to the National Institutes of Health, two-thirds of all strokes occur in patients over the age of 65. Blood pressure goals typically are lower for under age 64 when compared to those 75 to 84. Chumbler's research suggests after-stroke care, like blood pressure management, be applied across all age groups.

While the study looked primarily at men (97 percent) who had an average age of 67, Chumbler said the results are widely applicable to women as well as patients of all ages.

"Anyone who has a stroke should have these risk factors monitored when they are sent home and when they come back for follow-up appointments," he said. "Traditionally, preventative care has not been as aggressive for older patients. This research shows it is just as important for people in their 80s as it is for those in their 50s."

Treatment for depression, one risk factor associated with stroke, was higher among patients younger than 55.

"Post-stroke depression is very common; 35 to 40 percent of all individuals are at risk for developing severe clinical depression after stroke, so it is very important to monitor prevention strategies for stroke survivors," Chumbler said.

Even though older patients derive as much, if not more, from stroke prevention treatments, previous research suggests older patients are less likely to receive interventions than younger patients. Chumbler's findings suggest they have just as much to gain.

" management should be guided by the best clinical evidence and guidelines irrespective of age," he said in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development article.

The full journal article is available at www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour … 502/chumbler502.html.

Explore further: Depression linked to almost doubled stroke risk in middle-aged women

Related Stories

Depression linked to almost doubled stroke risk in middle-aged women

May 16, 2013
Depressed middle-aged women have almost double the risk of having a stroke, according to research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Teen years may be critical in later stroke risk, research finds

April 24, 2013
The teenage years may be a key period of vulnerability related to living in the "stroke belt" when it comes to future stroke risk, according to a new study published in the April 24, 2013, online issue of Neurology.

Patients fare better at hospitals using Get With The Guidelines-Stroke

May 16, 2013
People with strokes caused by blood clots fared better in hospitals participating in the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes ...

Clogged heart arteries can foreshadow stroke

February 28, 2013
Blockages in your heart arteries could mean you're more likely to have a stroke, even if you're considered low risk, according to research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Chronic pain common complication of clot-caused strokes

April 4, 2013
Chronic or persistent pain is a common—and likely under-recognized—complication of ischemic strokes (caused by a blocked blood vessel) according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Certified stroke centers more likely to give clot-busting drugs

March 26, 2013
Stroke patients are three times more likely to receive clot-busting medication if treated at a certified stroke center, according to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Recommended for you

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.