Stroke clinics are key to helping prevent attacks

By Sheryl Kay • Published: February 28th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

When clots block arteries and veins in our bodies, the normal flow of blood is reduced to the brain, often resulting in a stroke. Impaired blood flow means oxygen to the brain is diminished, and when that happens, brain cells start to die. More than 750,000 Americans suffer from such attacks each year, making strokes the third leading cause of death in adults, and the number one cause of disabilities in those over 18 years old.

With incidences on the rise, medical professionals have been pushing to find ways to curb the mortality rate, and a recent study indicates that attending a stroke prevention clinic after suffering a minor stroke can have a profound positive impact.

Half of all strokes occur in the first 24 to 48 hours after a transient ischemic attack, or a mini stroke. Because of this, researchers looked at the medical records of 16,000 patients who were diagnosed with mini strokes during a five- year period. The findings strongly confirmed that an organized response to stroke care for patients is key in staving off future attacks.

Recently published in the journal Stroke, the study showed a 26 percent reduction in one-year death rates among patients who were referred to and attended a stroke prevention clinic after suffering a mini stroke. The researchers noted the size, location and hours of these clinics was irrelevant in the success of reducing mortality. The investigators said that patients benefited in general because they found health care professionals at these clinics with expertise in stroke management who followed best practice standards and who were thoroughly experienced by repeated interaction with stroke victims.

Strokes are serious … and deadly … so checking in with a center that specializes in stroke care could prove to be a life-saving visit.