It is essential that treatment for stroke is given as fast as they could to be able to minimize the measure of long-term damage. Sadly, another study has proposed that 33 percent of Americans would be not able to get to a primary stroke center in 1 hour if they have to.
“Once a stroke is recognized, pre-hospital providers must be able to rapidly deliver patients to appropriate centers, making the geographic accessibility of these centers critically important,” the authors say.
The study, distributed online in Neurology, was a population-level virtual trial mimicking to what extent it would take for patients to get to stroke care after changes to systems of treatment.
“Research has shown that specialized stroke care has the potential to reduce death and disability,” says study author Dr. Michael T. Mullen. “Stroke is a time-critical disease. Each second after a stroke begins, brain cells die, so it is critically important that specialized stroke care be rapidly accessible to the population.”
As indicated by the authors, stroke is one of the main causes of death and disability in the US which occur when the stream of blood to a part of the brain is blocked or an artery in the brain ruptures or leaks.
In 2012, the start of a three-layered regionalized system of care was actualized. This included the assignment of specific hospitals as primary stroke centers (PSCs) and comprehensive stroke centers (CSCs), with CSCs giving the highest amount of care.
Dr. Mullen and his associates chose to make virtual models keeping in mind the end goal to measure what rate of the population would have access to a comprehensive stroke center after specifically changing over various number of primary stroke centers to facilities giving a larger amount of care.
“In this report, we demonstrate how mathematical optimization modeling can inform the strategic development of the US network of stroke centers by simulating the conversion of PSCs into CSCs,” the authors write. “This allows for virtual trials of competing system configurations in order to design a system that maximizes population access to care.”
Reduced access to specialized stroke care could intensify previous imbalance in wellbeing
Information from 2010 was used, and soon thereafter there were 811 PSCs and no CSCs in the US. The researchers changed over up to 20 PSCs in every state into CSCs and figured to what extent it would take local populations to get to these treatment facilities by ambulance or plane in optimum conditions.
In the wake of changing over the PSCs to CSCs, the researchers found that just 63 percent would live inside a 1-hour drive of a CSC, with an extra 23 percent inside a 1-hour flight of one.
“Even under optimal conditions, many people may not have rapid access to comprehensive stroke centers, and without oversight and population level planning, actual systems of care are likely to be substantially worse than these optimized models,” says Dr. Mullen.
Levels of access to care additionally changed in diverse geographical regions. Worryingly, access to care was most minimal in a region frequently alluded to as the “Stroke Belt” – 11 states where stroke demise rates are more than 10 percent higher than the national normal rate, overwhelmingly situated in the southeast of the US.
“Reduced access to specialized stroke care in these areas has the potential to worsen these disparities,” says Dr. Mullen. “This emphasizes the need for oversight of developing systems of care.”
Recently, Medical News Today covered a study recommending that there may be a potential increase in cancer hazard for stroke survivors.