Background: Evidence is available on the effectiveness and costs of treatments to reduce stroke risk in long-term secondary prevention. However, there are few data on the costs and outcomes of urgent assessment and treatment after the onset of transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke. The Early use of eXisting PREventive Strategies for Stroke (EXPRESS) study showed that urgent assessment and treatment reduced the 90-day risk of recurrent stroke by about 80%. We now report the effect of the EXPRESS intervention on admissions to hospital, costs, and disability.
Methods: EXPRESS was a prospective population-based before (phase 1: April 1, 2002, to Sept 30, 2004) versus after (phase 2: Oct 1, 2004, to March 31, 2007) study of the effect of early assessment and treatment of TIA or minor stroke on the risk of early recurrent stroke. This report assesses the effect of the introduction of the phase 2 clinic on admissions to hospital within 90 days, hospital bed-days, hospital costs, and 6-month new disability (progression from no disability before event [modified Rankin scale score < or =2 points] to disability at 6 months [modified Rankin scale score >2 points]) or death, compared with the phase 1 clinic. To assess the main predictors of these outcomes, multivariate regression analyses were done.
Findings: The 90-day risk of fatal or disabling stroke was reduced in phase 2 (1 of 281 vs 16 of 310; p=0.0005). Hospital admissions for recurrent stroke were also lower in phase 2 than in phase 1 (5 vs 25; p=0.001), which reduced the overall number of hospital bed-days compared with phase 1 (672 vs 1957 days; p=0.017). Hospital bed-days for admissions to hospital due to vascular causes were also lower in phase 2 (427 vs 1365 days; p=0.016), which generated savings of 624 pounds per patient referred to the phase 2 clinic (p=0.028). Results from the multivariate analyses showed that assessment in phase 2 was an independent predictor of reduced disability, days in hospital, and costs.
Interpretation: Urgent assessment and treatment of patients with TIA or minor stroke who were referred to a specialist outpatient clinic reduced subsequent hospital bed-days, acute costs, and 6-month disability.