Awareness of Stroke Risk after TIA in Swiss General Practitioners and Hospital Physicians.

Streit, Sven; Baumann, Philippe; Barth, Jürgen; Mattle, Heinrich P; Arnold, Marcel; Bassetti, Claudio L; Meli, Damian N; Fischer, Urs (2015). Awareness of Stroke Risk after TIA in Swiss General Practitioners and Hospital Physicians. PLoS ONE, 10(8), e0135885. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0135885

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BACKGROUND Transient ischemic attacks (TIA) are stroke warning signs and emergency situations, and, if immediately investigated, doctors can intervene to prevent strokes. Nevertheless, many patients delay going to the doctor, and doctors might delay urgently needed investigations and preventative treatments. We set out to determine how much general practitioners (GPs) and hospital physicians (HPs) knew about stroke risk after TIA, and to measure their referral rates. METHODS We used a structured questionnaire to ask GPs and HPs in the catchment area of the University Hospital of Bern to estimate a patient's risk of stroke after TIA. We also assessed their referral behavior. We then statistically analysed their reasons for deciding not to immediately refer patients. RESULTS Of the 1545 physicians, 40% (614) returned the survey. Of these, 75% (457) overestimated stroke risk within 24 hours, and 40% (245) overestimated risk within 3 months after TIA. Only 9% (53) underestimated stroke risk within 24 hours and 26% (158) underestimated risk within 3 months; 78% (473) of physicians overestimated the amount that carotid endarterectomy reduces stroke risk; 93% (543) would rigorously investigate the cause of a TIA, but only 38% (229) would refer TIA patients for urgent investigations "very often". Physicians most commonly gave these reasons for not making emergency referrals: patient's advanced age; patient's preference; patient was multimorbid; and, patient needed long-term care. CONCLUSIONS Although physicians overestimate stroke risk after TIA, their rate of emergency referral is modest, mainly because they tend not to refer multimorbid and elderly patients at the appropriate rate. Since old and frail patients benefit from urgent investigations and treatment after TIA as much as younger patients, future educational campaigns should focus on the importance of emergency evaluations for all TIA patients.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Clinic of General Internal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DCR Unit Sahli Building > Forschungsgruppe Neurologie
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Streit, Sven; Mattle, Heinrich; Arnold, Marcel; Bassetti, Claudio; Meli, Damian and Fischer, Urs

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

01 Sep 2015 10:01

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2017 18:24

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0135885

PubMed ID:

26284533

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.71447

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/71447

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