Objective: To investigate the influence of dementia status on treatment for the secondary prevention of stroke in older patients.
Design: Based on patient examinations and medical record review, we investigated the frequency of aspirin and/or warfarin use at hospital discharge for the prevention of recurrent stroke in older patients hospitalized with acute ischemic stroke.
Setting: A large academic medical center.
Participants: A cohort of 272 patients, mean age 72.1 +/- 8.5 years.
Measurements: We performed neurologic examinations and reviewed medical records to investigate the effects of a clinical diagnosis of dementia and other potentially relevant factors on treatment with aspirin or warfarin at hospital discharge.
Results: Thirty-one patients (11.4%) were not prescribed aspirin or warfarin at hospital discharge. Logistic regression determined that dementia (odds ratio (OR) = 2.57, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.04-6.30) was a significant independent determinant of nontreatment with aspirin or warfarin, adjusting for abnormal gait (OR = 2.01, CI, .88-4.59); discharge to a nursing home or other institutional residence (OR = 2.55, CI, .83-7.81); cardiac disease (OR = .39, CI, .16-.95); cortical infarct location (OR = .45, CI, .18-1.10); male sex (OR = .47, CI, .20-1.15); age 80+ (OR = 1.14, CI, .46-2.82) and age 70-79 (OR = .96, CI, .32-2.88) versus age 60-69.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that dementia is a significant independent determinant of nontreatment with aspirin or warfarin when otherwise indicated for the prevention of recurrent stroke. The underutilization of aspirin and warfarin in older stroke patients with dementia may be a modifiable basis for their increased risk of recurrence and death.