Tool predicts death probability from stroke

February 11th, 2011 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Feb 11 (IANS) Researchers have developed a new tool that will help doctors predict death probability in patients after an ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked. The tool is the first to use risk factors such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and kidney disease to estimate the probability of death, the journal Circulation reports.

“Doctors today have to rely on anecdotal experience to assess a patient’s prognosis,” says Gustavo Saposnik, neurologist at St. Michael’s Hospital, according to a hospital release.

“However, as doctors we tend to overestimate the likelihood of a good outcome in stroke patients. Now, with our new tool, we can accurately determine what type of outcome our patients may have, which will help guide clinical decisions.”

A study examined 12,262 patients who visited an Ontario hospital from 2003 to 2008 and suffered an ischemic stroke.

Using the new tool, researchers determined the death rate 30 days and one year after an ischemic stroke and compared the findings with data from the Ontario Stroke Audit to validate the results.

They found the tool was accurate and that risk factors including heart disease, heart failure, cancer, dementia and a history of atrial fibrillation - an irregular heartbeat - were associated with a higher probability of death.

The findings are being presented at the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.

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