Objective: To evaluate the care and outcomes of patients with TIA or minor stroke admitted to the hospital vs discharged from the emergency department (ED).
Methods: We used the Ontario Stroke Registry to create a cohort of patients with minor ischemic stroke/TIA who presented to the hospital April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009, or April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011, in the province of Ontario, Canada. We compared processes of care and outcomes (death or recurrent stroke/TIA) in patients admitted to the hospital and discharged with and without stroke prevention clinic follow-up.
Results: In our sample of 8,540 patients, the use of recommended interventions was highest in admitted patients, followed by discharged patients referred to prevention clinics, followed by those discharged without clinic referral. Eight percent of nonadmitted patients returned to the hospital with recurrent stroke/TIA within 1 week of the index event. One-year stroke case-fatality was similar in admitted and discharged patients (adjusted hazard ratio 1.11; 95% confidence interval 0.92-1.34). Among patients discharged from EDs, referral to a stroke prevention clinic was associated with a markedly lower risk of mortality (adjusted hazard ratio 0.49; 95% confidence interval 0.38-0.64).
Conclusions: Patients with minor ischemic stroke or TIA discharged from the ED are less likely than admitted patients to receive timely stroke care interventions. Among discharged patients, referral to a stroke prevention clinic is associated with improved processes of care and lower mortality. Additional strategies are needed to improve access to high-quality outpatient TIA care.
© 2016 American Academy of Neurology.