Case management for blood pressure and lipid level control after minor stroke: PREVENTION randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Background:

Optimization of systolic blood pressure and lipid levels are essential for secondary prevention after ischemic stroke, but there are substantial gaps in care, which could be addressed by nurse- or pharmacist-led care. We compared 2 types of case management (active prescribing by pharmacists or nurse-led screening and feedback to primary care physicians) in addition to usual care.

Methods:

We performed a prospective randomized controlled trial involving adults with recent minor ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack whose systolic blood pressure or lipid levels were above guideline targets. Participants in both groups had a monthly visit for 6 months with either a nurse or pharmacist. Nurses measured cardiovascular risk factors, counselled patients and faxed results to primary care physicians (active control). Pharmacists did all of the above as well as prescribed according to treatment algorithms (intervention).

Results:

Most of the 279 study participants (mean age 67.6 yr, mean systolic blood pressure 134 mm Hg, mean low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol 3.23 mmol/L) were already receiving treatment at baseline (antihypertensives: 78.1%; statins: 84.6%), but none met guideline targets (systolic blood pressure ≤ 140 mm Hg, fasting LDL cholesterol ≤ 2.0 mmol/L). Substantial improvements were observed in both groups after 6 months: 43.4% of participants in the pharmacist case manager group met both systolic blood pressure and LDL guideline targets compared with 30.9% in the nurse-led group (12.5% absolute difference; number needed to treat = 8, p = 0.03).

Interpretation:

Compared with nurse-led case management (risk factor evaluation, counselling and feedback to primary care providers), active case management by pharmacists substantially improved risk factor control at 6 months among patients who had experienced a stroke. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, no. NCT00931788

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