Impact of evidence-based stroke care on patient outcomes: a multilevel analysis of an international study

Muñoz-Venturelli, Paula, Li, Xian, Middleton, Sandy, Watkins, Caroline Leigh orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9403-3772, Lavados, Pablo M., Olavarría, Verónica V., Brunser, Alejandro, Pontes-Neto, Octavio, Santos, Taiza E. G. et al (2019) Impact of evidence-based stroke care on patient outcomes: a multilevel analysis of an international study. Journal of the American Heart Association, 8 (13). e012640.

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The uptake of proven stroke treatments varies widely. We aimed to determine the association of evidence‐based processes of care for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) and clinical outcome of patients who participated in the HEADPOST (Head Positioning in Acute Stroke Trial), a multicenter cluster crossover trial of lying flat versus sitting up, head positioning in acute stroke.

Methods and Results

Use of 8 AIS processes of care were considered: reperfusion therapy in eligible patients; acute stroke unit care; antihypertensive, antiplatelet, statin, and anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation; dysphagia assessment; and physiotherapist review. Hierarchical, mixed, logistic regression models were performed to determine associations with good outcome (modified Rankin Scale scores 0–2) at 90 days, adjusted for patient and hospital variables. Among 9485 patients with AIS, implementation of all processes of care in eligible patients, or “defect‐free” care, was associated with improved outcome (odds ratio, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.18–1.65) and better survival (odds ratio, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.62–3.09). Defect‐free stroke care was also significantly associated with excellent outcome (modified Rankin Scale score 0–1) (odds ratio, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.04–1.43). No hospital characteristic was independently predictive of outcome. Only 1445 (15%) of eligible patients with AIS received all processes of care, with significant regional variations in overall and individual rates.


Use of evidence‐based care is associated with improved clinical outcome in AIS. Strategies are required to address regional variation in the use of proven AIS treatments.

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