WEDNESDAY NEWS TIPS

American Stroke Association Meeting Report - Embargoed until times noted below on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013

Tip Highlights:

  • Target: Stroke program doubled number of patients receiving lifesaving treatment
  • Cocaine use may raise risk for re-bleeds, death in patients with brain bleeds
  • Families of children with stroke face high out-of-pocket costs
  • Japanese-style hand bathing may help stroke patients’ well-being
  • 6,000 steps a day could keep recurrent stroke away

NOTE ALL TIMES ARE HAWAII (HT). ALL TIPS ARE EMBARGOED UNTIL THE TIME OF PRESENTATION OR 11 A.M. HT/4 P.M. ET EACH DAY, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST. For more information Feb. 6-8, call the ASA News Media Staff Office at the Hawaii Convention Center: (808) 792-6506. Before or after these dates, call the Communications Office in Dallas at (214) 706-1173. For public inquiries, call (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721).

6:36 a.m. HT/11:36 a.m. ET – Abstract 18
Target: Stroke program doubled number of patients receiving lifesaving treatment
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Target: Stroke quality improvement program doubled the percent of stroke patients who received recommended care within 60 minutes of emergency department arrival, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013.

Massachusetts General Hospital physicians analyzed how using the program’s best practices affected the speed at which 2,589 patients were diagnosed and 289 received treatment with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a clot-busting drug that’s the only proven treatment for acute ischemic stroke.

Current national guidelines recommend that stroke patients receive imaging within 25 minutes and tPA within 60 minutes of arrival at an emergency department. Researchers compared the care before and after the program was implemented.

They found:

  • The percentage of patients receiving imaging within 25 minutes of arrival more than doubled from 12.6 percent pre-intervention to 28.1 percent post-intervention.
  • The percentage of patients receiving tPA within 60 minutes went from 35 percent to 70 percent.


11 a.m. HT/4 p.m. ET – Abstract 50
Cocaine use may raise risk for re-bleeds, death in patients with brain bleeds
Acute cocaine use increased the risk of aneurysm re-rupture and in-hospital death among aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013.

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage is a stroke that occurs when a weakened area of a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.

Researchers reviewed information on 1,134 aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients who had been to one of two Johns Hopkins University hospitals between1991-2009, reviewing whether patients had used cocaine within 72 hours of having the stroke. They found:

  • 12.5 percent of the patients’ strokes were associated with cocaine use.
  • 7.7 percent of cocaine users had aneurysm re-ruptures.
  • 2.7 percent of non-cocaine users experienced re-ruptures.
  • 26 percent of cocaine users died in the hospital versus 17 percent of the non-users.

The reasons for the nearly three times increased adjusted odds of death among the stroke patients who had recently used cocaine warrant further investigation, researchers said.

Note: Actual presentation is 12:30 p.m. HT, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.


11 a.m. HT/4 p.m. ET – Abstract WP406
Families of children with stroke face high out-of-pocket costs
The average out of pocket cost a family experiences to care for a child who has an acute stroke is $4,300, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013.

Researchers tracked 22 children who had ischemic stroke for one year, monitoring their families’ stroke-related expenses, including lost wages, non-reimbursed medical costs and mileage.

They found:

  • Families pay an average $4,354 out of pocket in one year to care for children who had a stroke. The range was from $0 to $28,666. The average American household has only $3,860 in cash savings.
  • Out-of-pocket costs were greatest in the first three months after the stroke, with the largest proportion due to lost wages, followed by non-reimbursed health care, lodging and transportation.
  • Lost wages remained high in the second quarter, but fell by the third and fourth quarters.
  • For the entire year, average out-of-pocket costs represented 6.8 percent of annual income.

Aside from medical costs, childhood stroke also creates an under-recognized cost to society due to parents’ decreased productivity and lost hours from work, researchers said.

Note: Actual presentation is 4:45 p.m. HT, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.


11 a.m. HT/4 p.m. ET – Abstract WP326
Japanese-style hand bathing may help stroke patients’ well-being
A Japanese hand therapy technique, in which nurses wash and stimulate patients’ hands in warm water while talking with them, led to improved well-being among stroke patients, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013.

Stroke patients who had hand bathing not only reported being better able to move their hands, but they also talked more positively, became more sociable and had a better sense of contentment and well-being.

In a randomized-control study, researchers compared results of 23 recovering stroke patients who received 15 minutes of hand bathing four times within one week to 21 patients who didn’t receive the intervention. They found:

  • The hand-bathed group felt improved hand movement, especially after the first and fourth hand bathing.
  • No notable differences occurred between the two groups in water retention of the hands, numbness, pain or the heaviness felt in their hands.
  • The hand-bathed group used more than twice as many positive adjectives than the other group after the second, third and fourth hand bathing.
  • After the hand bathing, stroke patients showed notable improvements in areas of socialization and sense of contentment or well-being, compared to the other stroke group.

Note: Actual presentation is 4:45 p.m. HT, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.


11 a.m. HT/4 p.m. ET – Abstract WP 425
6,000 steps a day could keep recurrent stroke away
Stroke survivors who take 6,000 or more steps a day are more likely to remain stroke and vascular-event free than people who walk less than 6,000 steps daily, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013.

Researchers measured daily step counts for 142 ischemic stroke patients, who had strokes six months prior. Looking for results, such as hospitalization due to stroke recurrence, heart attack, severe chest pain or blockages of arteries leading to legs or arms, they found:

  • At about three years follow-up, 29 of these vascular events had occurred.
  • Daily step counts were notably lower in the recurrent group than in the group without recurrent vascular events.
  • Daily step counts and carotid artery plaque buildup were independent predictors of new vascular events.
  • A daily step count cutoff value of 6,000 steps a day seemed to make the most difference as a predictor of recurrent events.

Daily physical activity, evaluated by step counts, may help forecast future vascular events among stroke patients, researchers said.

Note: Actual presentation is 4:45 p.m. HT, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.

Follow news from the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013 via Twitter @HeartNews; #ISC13.

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Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Stroke Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position.  The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events.  The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content.  Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

Available B-roll and images related to these tips are on the right column of this link.

ASA News Media in Dallas: (214) 706-1173
ASA News Media Office, Feb. 6-8
at the Hawaii Convention Center: (808) 792-6506
For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

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