Changing attitudes to the management of ischaemic stroke between 1997 and 2004: a survey of New Zealand physicians

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Abstract

Aim

In 1997, a survey of New Zealand physicians' opinions on the management of stroke was carried out. Since then, there have been a number of advances in stroke therapy. We have repeated the 1997 survey to assess changes in physicians' opinions on stroke management.

Methods

A questionnaire was sent to 293 physicians responsible for patients admitted with acute stroke to hospitals throughout New Zealand. It included questions on the management of acute stroke and secondary prevention and was based on the 1997 questionnaire.

Results

Responses were received from 211 physicians of whom 174 (82%) managed patients with an acute stroke. The number of respondents who thought that stroke units were efficacious has increased (57% in 1997 to 89%, P < 0.001). The use of aspirin acutely (P < 0.001) and intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (P = 0.006) has also increased. In 2004, antihypertensive therapy for secondary stroke prevention would be commenced if the blood pressure was 150/90 by 98% of respondents and 140/90 by 70% of respondents. In 2004, a statin would be commenced if the total cholesterol level was 4.0 mmol/L by 56% of respondents and 5.0 mmol/L by 91% of respondents.

Conclusions

This survey has shown important changes in the management of ischaemic stroke over the past 7 years.

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