Patients who suffer from transient ischemic attack (so-called "mini-strokes") are more likely to receive rapid assessment and care if they attend a hospital, which has organized stroke care services, according to the results of a survey published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Mr Christopher Price, of the National Stroke Foundation, and his co-authors surveyed 74 hospitals on their current services for transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients.
TIA is caused by a temporary cut in blood supply to part of the brain and places patients at greater risk of a stroke or heart attack.
"Recent evidence indicates that the greatest risk of stroke is within the first few days after a TIA event. It also suggests that rapid expert assessment and initiation of preventive treatment may significantly reduce subsequent stroke rates," Mr Price said.
"Our survey found that only 5% of sites involved stroke specialists in the initial assessments of patients with suspected TIA."
Only 60% of hospitals commenced treatment or modified existing treatment during the initial consultation.
"The presence of a stroke unit in a hospital was associated with improved processes of care for patients with TIA. This highlights the need to improve patient access to stroke unit care and the associated clinical expertise."
The Medical Journal of Australia
is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.