Providers urged to coordinate better care in vulnerable year after stroke hits

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Within a year of suffering an acute ischemic stroke, two-thirds of Medicare patients discharged from the hospital either died or were rehospitalized. This is according to a UCLA-led study, published in the Dec.16 issue of the journal Stroke.

The study used data collected from 91,000 Medicare patients with an average age of 79, who were treated for stroke at 625 different hospitals. According to the study, 14.1% of these stroke patients died within 30 days of their stroke, while 31.1% died within a year. Additionally, 61.9% of the stroke victims were readmitted to the hospital or died in the year following the stroke. Researchers pointed out that Medicare patients within this age group are more likely to suffer from other comorbid conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

"Increased efforts to prevent strokes are critical," Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, the study's lead researcher, told HealthDay News. "For patients presenting with acute stroke, this is an important need to better implement hospital, transition-of-care and outpatient strategies aimed at avoiding those deaths and rehospitalizations that are preventable."