Background: Secondary prevention of stroke is a very important goal for achieving continuous reduction in stroke mortality rates over the next decades.
Design and setting: Cross-sectional analysis on the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health -(ELSA-Brasil), with data from Salvador, Vitória, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Porto Alegre.
Methods: This descriptive analysis focused on secondary prevention of stroke among participants who self-reported a medical diagnosis of stroke at the baseline of ELSA-Brasil, and its association with sociodemographic characteristics.
Results: Overall, 197 participants (1.3%) reported a prior medical history of stroke. Participants with stroke were older and less educated and had lower mean monthly family income, compared with non-stroke participants. Among all stroke cases, 23.7% did not use any medication for secondary prevention of stroke. Use of secondary prevention was higher among men than among women (respectively, 59.6% versus 40.4%; P = 0.02 for aspirin; and 71.4% versus 28.6%; P = 0.04 for other antiplatelet drugs). Having private health insurance was associated with greater use of less cost-effective and more expensive medications (like angiotensinogen receptor blockers) and a tendency to use antiplatelet drugs other than aspirin, among participants reporting stroke, compared with others. Use of medication decreased as time passed after suffering a stroke.
Conclusions: In this sample of individuals with better access to healthcare services, use of secondary prevention for stroke was low, which may suggest that the situation in the general population is worse. Sex was the most important sociodemographic variable associated with low use of secondary prevention.