Conference Coverage

All-or-none approach boosts adherence to stroke treatments



– Stroke patients in low to middle income care settings may frequently fail to get timely evidence-based treatments when they’re admitted to the hospital and even when they’re discharged, but a large South American study found that an “all-or-none” approach to a multistep quality-improvement program led to a significant increase in therapy adherence and smoking cessation. The results were reported at the American Heart Association scientific sessions.

“A multifaceted quality-improvement intervention did not result in a significant increase in the composite adherence score for evidence-based therapies in patients with acute ischemic stroke [AIS] or transient ischemic attack [TIA],” said M. Julia Machline-Carrion, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the BRIDGE-Stroke study and a cardiologist at the Hospital for Heart in São Paulo. “However, when using a more conservative ‘all-or-none’ approach of complete adherence, the intervention resulted in improved adherence to evidence-based therapies.”

The quality-improvement program also resulted in a significant increase in the use of thrombolysis and uptake in smoking cessation education by study participants, Dr. Machline-Carrion added.

The study randomized 1,624 patients with AIS or TIA to the multifaceted quality-improvement intervention or routine practice. The intervention consisted of a patient identification system (wristband and printed reminders), a therapeutic plan road map and checklist, case management, educational materials, interactive workshops, and periodic audit and feedback reports to each participating cluster. Colored wristbands were to help promptly identify AIS or TIA patients in the emergency department and other departments they may have been sent to later on, such as the ICU, to avoid delays in initiating recommended therapies.

On average, the composite adherence score was 85.3% for those in the intervention group vs. 77.8% for controls, Dr. Machline-Carrion said. The composite adherence score consisted of 10 quality measures, ranging from early antithrombotics and prophylaxis for deep vein thrombosis to anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation or flutter, and smoking cessation education. “There was no statistically significant difference in the composite adherence score between the intervention group and the usual-care group,” she said.

However, when the researchers applied the all-or-none model – that is, complete adherence to all 10 in-hospital quality measures – the results were strikingly different, Dr. Machline-Carrion said. “Patients in the intervention group were more likely to receive all eligible therapies,” she said: 49.2% vs. 25.3%.

“Despite the established efficacy of several interventions for the management of patients with acute ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack, the uptake of evidence-based measures remains suboptimal, especially in low- and middle-income countries,” Dr. Machline-Carrion said.

The BRIDGE-Stroke study involved 36 hospitals in Brazil, Argentina, and Peru with full emergency department coverage, central nervous system imaging, and access to recombinant tissue plasminogen activator therapies.

Dr. Machline-Carrion disclosed financial relationships with Amgen and Boehringer Ingelheim. The Brazil Ministry of Health was the lead sponsor of the study.

SOURCE: Machline-Carrion MJ et al. AHA scientific sessions, Abstract 19361.

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