Introduction: Implementation of contextually appropriate, evidence-based, expert-recommended stroke prevention guideline is particularly important in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), which bear disproportional larger burden of stroke while possessing fewer resources. Focus therefore, should be on approaches enabling healthcare systems to improve control of vascular risk factors.
Objective: We aimed to compare important features of stroke prevention guidelines between LMICs and High Income Countries (HICs).
Methods: We systematically searched PubMed, AJOL, SciELO, and LILACS databases for stroke prevention guidelines published between January 2005 and December 2015 by country. Primary search items included: “Stroke” and “Guidelines”. We critically appraised the articles for evidence level, issuance frequency and implementation aspects to clinical practice.
Results: Among 45 stroke prevention guidelines published, 28 (62%) met eligibility criteria: 7 from LMICs (25%) and 21 from HICs (75%). LMIC-issued guidelines were less likely to have conflict of interest declarations (57% vs. 100%, p=0.01), involve high quality systematic reviews (57% vs. 95%, p= 0.03), had good dissemination channels (14% vs 71%, p=0.02). The patient views and preferences were the most significant stakeholder considerations in HICs (43%, p=0.04) compared with LMICs.
Conclusion: The quality and quantity of stroke prevention guidelines in LMICs are less than those of HICs and need to be significantly improved upon.