Mortality prediction tool will help hospitals treat stroke victims

A new online tool can help hospitals and health professionals determine the mortality risk for stroke patients in their care. The tool uses data compiled from more than 270,000 hospital stroke admissions from 2001 through 2007, according to a study published in the Oct. 12 edition of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

Study author Dr. Eric Smith, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, said the ability to make such predictions ultimately will help to improve the quality of care by increasing the speed and accuracy of that care. 

The primary predictors of death, according to an article published in MedPage Today, included a person's age, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, diabetes and peripheral vascular disease. Other predictors used, according to a news release of the study, included previous stroke history, artery narrowing, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and smoking status. 

"We used these results to make a risk score," said Smith, who added that a measure of stroke severity known as the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale was particularly strong, despite only being recorded 40 percent of the time. The researchers were able to show that the risk score that included the NIH Stroke Scale score made more accurate predictions.

The study looked at information on only patients who suffered from ischemic stroke--where blood flow to the brain is blocked. Roughly 85 percent of all strokes are ischemic. 

To learn more:
- here's the study's abstract
- view the press release
- read this MedPage Today article
- check out this HealthDay News piece