The Study of Cost-Effectiveness of Rivaroxaban versus Warfarin in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation Who Developed Ischemic StrokeRead the full article
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Association between Oral Pathology, Carotid Stenosis, and Oral Bacterial DNA in Cerebral Thrombi of Patients with Stroke
Background and purpose. Risk of acute ischemic stroke has been associated with carotid artery atherosclerosis as well as with periodontal disease. We studied whether oral pathology or carotid atherosclerosis was associated with the presence and quantity of bacterial DNA in their aspirated thrombi. Methods. Thrombus aspirates and control arterial blood were taken from 71 patients (70.4% male; mean age, 67.4 years) with acute ischemic stroke. Tooth pathology was registered using CT scans. Carotid stenosis was estimated with CTA and ultrasonography. The presence of bacterial DNA from aspirated thrombi was determined using quantitative PCR. We also analyzed the presence of these bacterial DNAs in carotid endarterectomies from patients with peripheral arterial disease. Results. Bacterial DNA was found in 59 (83.1%) of the thrombus aspirates (median, 8.6-fold). Oral streptococcal DNA was found in 56 (78.9%) of the thrombus aspirates (median, 5.1-fold). DNA from A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis was not found. Most patients suffered from poor oral health and had in median 19.0 teeth left. Paradoxically, patients with better oral health had more oral streptococcal DNA in their thrombus than the group with the worst pathology (). There was a trend (OR 7.122; ) in the association of ≥50% carotid artery stenosis with more severe dental pathology. Oral streptococcal DNA was detected in 2/6 of carotid endarterectomies. Conclusions. Stroke patients had poor oral health which tended to associate with their carotid artery stenosis. Although oral streptococcal DNA was found in thrombus aspirates and carotid endarterectomy samples, the amount of oral streptococcal DNA in thrombus aspirates was the lowest among those with the most severe oral pathology. These results suggest that the association between poor oral health and acute ischemic stroke is linked to carotid artery atherosclerosis.
Developing a Predictive Tool for Hospital Discharge Disposition of Patients Poststroke with 30-Day Readmission Validation
After short-term, acute-care hospitalization for stroke, patients may be discharged home or other facilities for continued medical or rehabilitative management. The site of postacute care affects overall mortality and functional outcomes. Determining discharge disposition is a complex decision by the healthcare team. Early prediction of discharge destination can optimize poststroke care and improve outcomes. Previous attempts to predict discharge disposition outcome after stroke have limited clinical validations. In this study, readmission status was used as a measure of the clinical significance and effectiveness of a discharge disposition prediction. Low readmission rates indicate proper and thorough care with appropriate discharge disposition. We used Medicare beneficiary data taken from a subset of base claims in the years of 2014 and 2015 in our analyses. A predictive tool was created to determine discharge disposition based on risk scores derived from the coefficients of multivariable logistic regression related to an adjusted odds ratio. The top five risk scores were admission from a skilled nursing facility, acute heart attack, intracerebral hemorrhage, admission from “other” source, and an age of 75 or older. Validation of the predictive tool was accomplished using the readmission rates. A 75% probability for facility discharge corresponded with a risk score of greater than 9. The prediction was then compared to actual discharge disposition. Each cohort was further analyzed to determine how many readmissions occurred in each group. Of the actual home discharges, 95.7% were predicted to be there. However, only 47.8% of predictions for home discharge were actually discharged home. Predicted discharge to facility had 15.9% match to the actual facility discharge. The scenario of actual discharge home and predicted discharge to facility showed that 186 patients were readmitted. Following the algorithm in this scenario would have recommended continued medical management of these patients, potentially preventing these readmissions.
Predicting Independence 6 and 18 Months after Ischemic Stroke Considering Differences in 12 Countries: A Secondary Analysis of the IST-3 Trial
Objectives. This study is aimed at identifying the best clinical model to predict poststroke independence at 6 and 18 months, considering sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, and then identifying differences between countries. Methods. Data was retrieved from the International Stroke Trial 3 study. Nine clinical variables (age, gender, severity, rt-PA, living alone, atrial fibrillation, history of transient ischemic attack/stroke, and abilities to lift arms and walk) were measured immediately after the stroke and considered to predict independence at 6 and 18 months poststroke. Independence was measured using the Oxford Handicap Scale. The adequacy, predictive capacity, and discriminative capacity of the models were checked. Countries were added to the final models. Results. At 6 months poststroke, 35.8% () of participants were independent, and at 18 months, this proportion decreased to 29.9% (). Both 6 and 18 months poststroke predictive models obtained fair discriminatory capacities. Gender, living alone, and rt-PA only reached predictive significance at 18 months. Poststroke patients from Poland and Sweden showed greater chances to achieve independence at 6 months compared to the UK. Poland also achieved greater chances at 18 months. Italy had worse chances than the UK at both follow-ups. Discussion. Six and eight variables predicted poststroke independence at 6 and 18 months, respectively. Some variables only reached significance at 18 months, suggesting a late influence in stroke patients’ rehabilitation. Differences found between countries in achieving independence may be related to healthcare system organization or cultural characteristics, a hypothesis that must be addressed in future studies. These results can allow the development of tailored interventions to improve the outcomes.
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Acute Ischemic Stroke Presentation, Treatment, and Outcomes
Introduction. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic last year. While a clear impact of COVID-19 on the declining stroke volume has been reported, its overall impact on stroke presentation and clinical outcomes has not been established. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of COVID-19 on acute ischemic stroke volume, presentation, treatment, and outcomes at comprehensive stroke centers. Methods. A retrospective review of patients with a discharge diagnosis of acute ischemic stroke from the Get With The Guidelines database was performed from January 1, 2019, to July 1, 2020. The following time periods were defined: Pre-COVID (January/February), Peak-COVID (March/April), and Post-COVID (May/June). Bivariate analyses were performed comparing the 2020 and 2019 time periods to determine differences in stroke volume, presentation, treatment, and outcomes. Results. Stroke volumes were significantly lower during the Peak-COVID period in 2020 compared to that in 2019, with an absolute decline of 49.5% (). Patients were more likely to present after 24 hours from last known well during the 2020 Peak-COVID period (). However, there was not a significant difference in the rate of treatment with either the tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) or mechanical thrombectomy during the Peak-COVID period. Interestingly, relative treatment rates increased during the 2020 Post-COVID period to 11.4% (). Conclusions. The overall ischemic stroke volume decreased during the pandemic, and patients had a tendency to present later, beyond eligible treatment windows. However, rates of treatment, patient demographics, and stroke outcomes did not significantly change when compared to the prior year.
Value of Perfusion CT in the Prediction of Intracerebral Hemorrhage after Endovascular Treatment
Background. Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a serious complication of endovascular treatment (EVT) in stroke patients with large vessel occlusion (LVO) and associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Aims. Identification of radiological predictors is highly relevant. We investigated the predictive power of computed tomography perfusion (CTP) parameters concerning ICH in patients receiving EVT. Methods. 392 patients with anterior circulation LVO with multimodal CT imaging who underwent EVT were analyzed. CTP parameters were visually evaluated for modified ASPECTS regions and compared between patients without ICH, those with hemorrhagic infarction (HI), and those with parenchymal hematoma (PH) according to the ECASS criteria at follow-up imaging and broken down by ASPECTS regions. Results. 168 received intravenous thrombolysis (IV-rtPA), and 115 developed subsequent ICH (29.3%), of which 74 were classified as HI and 41 as PH. Patients with HI and PH had lower ASPECTS than patients without ICH and worse functional outcome after 90 days (). In 102 of the 115 patients with ICH, the deep middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory was affected with differences between patients without ICH, those with HI, and those with PH regarding cerebral blood volume (CBV) and blood-brain barrier permeability measured as flow extraction product (FED) relative to the contralateral hemisphere (). Patients with PH showed larger perfusion CT infarct core than patients without ICH (). Conclusion. None of the examined CTP parameters was found to be a strong predictor of subsequent ICH. ASPECTS and initial CTP core volume were more reliable and may be useful and even so more practicable to assess the risk of subsequent ICH after EVT.
Effects of Pharyngeal Electrical Stimulation on Swallow Timings, Clearance and Safety in Post-Stroke Dysphagia: Analysis from the Swallowing Treatment Using Electrical Pharyngeal Stimulation (STEPS) Trial
Swallowing impairment (dysphagia) post-stroke results in poorer outcomes. Pharyngeal electrical stimulation (PES) is a potential treatment for post-stroke dysphagia. In a post hoc analysis, we investigated PES using videofluoroscopy swallow studies (VFSS) from the STEPS trial incorporating multiple measures of safety (penetration aspiration scale-PAS), speed and duration (timing), and efficiency (clearance), as opposed to the original trial which only measured PAS scores. 81 randomised participants (PES () versus sham ()) were analysed at baseline and 2 weeks. Participants swallowed up to and of thin liquid barium at 40% , images at ≥25 fps. Based on PAS, the 5 ml mode bolus (most frequently occurring PAS from ) and the worst 50 ml bolus were chosen for further analysis. Eight timing measures were performed, including stage transition duration (STD) and pharyngeal transit time (PTT). Clearance measures comprised oral and pharyngeal residue and swallows to clear. Comparisons of change of scoring outcomes between PES and sham were done at 2 weeks. Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test was also used to evaluate longitudinal changes from both groups’ combined results at two weeks. Between-group analysis showed no statistically significant differences. Issues with suboptimal image quality and frame rate acquisition affected final numbers. At two weeks, both groups demonstrated a significant improvement in most safety scores (PAS) and STD, possibly due to spontaneous recovery or a combination of spontaneous recovery and swallowing treatment and usual care. A nonsignificant trend for improvement was seen in other timing measures, including PTT. This study, which conducted additional measurements of kinematic and residue analysis on the STEPS data did not detect “missed” improvements in swallowing function that the PAS is not designed to measure. However, more studies with greater numbers are required.