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Reasons for delayed admission after stroke: results of a qualitative and quantitative survey

Authors Alegiani AC, Albrecht S, Rahn AC, Köpke S, Thomalla G, Heesen C

Received 4 November 2018

Accepted for publication 23 January 2019

Published 8 May 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 739—747


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Anna Christina Alegiani,1 Sindy Albrecht,1 Anne Christin Rahn,2,3 Sascha Köpke,2 Götz Thomalla,1 Christoph Heesen4

1Department of Neurology, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany; 2Institute of Social Medicine & Epidemiology, Nursing Research Unit, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany; 3Unit of Health Sciences and Education, MIN Faculty, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany; 4Institute of Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

Background: Acute stroke treatment shows time-dependent benefit to prevent disability. Public information campaigns and streamlining of emergency management have been performed, but still, only one-third of acute stroke patients are admitted >4.5 hrs after symptom onset.
Patients and methods: We interviewed 15 patients, presenting >4.5 hrs after symptom onset, regarding symptom recognition, emotions and their first action after symptom onset. Recorded interviews were analyzed by standardized descriptive analysis. Based on the results, a quantitative survey was developed. One hundred consecutive stroke unit patients surveyed to compare patients presenting within 4.5 hrs and more than 4.5 hrs of symptom onset.
Results: Patients predominantly noticed symptoms by themselves. The most commonly expressed feelings were uncertainty and shame. The most frequent action was waiting. Patients described moderate knowledge about stroke in general, but felt less informed regarding their stroke risk. Magazines (51%) were the most frequently indicated source of information, while general practitioners only accounted for 26%. Significantly better knowledge was shown in the answers on closed questions compared to open questions, although the same items were named.
Conclusion: Shame, uncertainty and insufficient individual risk knowledge about stroke were the most important factors delaying admission after stroke. Individual risk counseling could be investigated to close the gap between general stroke knowledge and recognition of own stroke risk.

Keywords: acute stroke, onset, admission, knowledge, risk factors, acute stroke treatment

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