Temporal Trends in Case Fatality, Discharge Destination, and Admission to Long-term Care After Acute Stroke

Objective

To determine contemporary trends in case fatality, discharge destination, and admission to long-term care after acute ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) using a large, population-based cohort.

Methods

We used linked administrative data to identify all emergency department visits and hospital admissions for first-ever ischemic stroke or ICH in Ontario, Canada, from 2003 to 2017. We calculated crude and age-/sex-standardized risk of death at 30 days and 1 year from stroke onset. We stratified crude trends by stroke type, age, and sex and used the Kendall -b correlation coefficient to evaluate the significance of trends. We determined trends in discharge home and to rehabilitation and admission to long-term care at 1 year. We used Cox proportional hazard and logistic regression models to assess whether trends in outcomes persisted after adjustment for baseline factors, estimated stroke severity, and use of life-sustaining care.

Results

There were 163,574 people with acute ischemic stroke or ICH across the study period. Between 2003 and 2017, age-/sex-standardized 30-day stroke case fatality decreased from 20.5% to 13.2% (7.3% absolute and 36% relative reduction) while that at 1 year decreased from 32.2% to 22.8% (9.3% absolute and 29% relative reduction). Findings were consistent across age, sex, and stroke type, and after adjustment for comorbid conditions, stroke severity, and use of life-sustaining care. There was a reduction in long-term care admission after ischemic stroke and an increase in discharge home or to rehabilitation for both stroke types.

Conclusion

We observed substantial reductions in acute stroke case fatality from 2003 to 2017 with a concurrent increase in discharge to home or rehabilitation and a decrease in long-term care admissions, suggesting continuous improvements in stroke systems of care.

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