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Ko KF, Sheppard L
Correspondence: Dr Ko Kwai Fu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction There are significant differences in stroke patterns and risk factors for cerebrovascular disease between Chinese subjects and Caucasians. The outcome of stroke unit care in a Chinese population has not been described in the medical literature. The present study aims to evaluate the outcome of stroke unit care in Chinese subjects.
Methods By prospective comparative research, Chinese patients treated in the stroke unit were group-matched with those treated in the general medical ward by age, gender, premorbid functional status (by the Barthel Index), National Institute of Health Stroke Scale score, and stroke types. From April 2001 to April 2002, a total of 188 patients in the stroke unit group and 177 patients in the general ward group were recruited in the study. The main outcome measures included mortality at 28 and 120 days, and the length of inpatient stay.
Results Stroke unit care significantly reduced mortality of patients with acute stroke after 28 and 120 days. After 28 days, mortality was 3.3 percent and 17.2 percent for the stroke unit group and general ward group, respectively (p-value is equal to or less than 0.01); whereas after 120 days, mortality was 5.0 percent and 24.7 percent for the stroke unit group and general ward group, respectively (p-value is equal to or less than 0.001). The stroke unit care was demonstrated, by logistic regression analysis, to have contributed to the reduction of mortality at 120 days (p-value is 0.014). At 28 days, there was only a trend for stroke unit care to contribute to the reduction of mortality by logistic regression analysis (p-value is 0.067). By Kaplan-Meier survival curves (log rank statistic is 10.46, p-value is 0.001) and a Cox regression (hazard ratio 0.253, 95 percent confidence interval 0.085 to 0.754, p-value is 0.014), the stroke unit care was further found to reduce mortality significantly. The mean length of inpatient stay of the stroke unit group was 37.1 days, while that of the general medical ward group was 69.3 days (p-value is equal to or less than 0.001).
Conclusion Chinese subjects receiving comprehensive stroke unit care are associated with less mortality and shorter length of hospital stay than those having conventional care in general medical wards.
Keywords: cerebrovascular disorders, general wards, outcome assessment, stroke, stroke unit
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(3): 208-212