Otago Daily Times

Stroke victims’ outcomes vary


THOSE living outside larger centres are more likely to experience worse longterm health outcomes after a stroke, University of Otago research has found.

Research from its Wellington campus found stroke patients cared for in provincial and rural areas had less functional independen­ce after their stroke than city dwellers, a higher risk of death in the period following their stroke, and more chance of suffering further vascular events later.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Anna Ranta said people cared for outside urban centres were less likely to have access to stroke clot retrieval, a lifesaving but complex and timecritic­al procedure.

The researcher­s, working on the Health Research Councilfun­ded REGIONS Care study, found they were also less likely to have access to specialist best practice care in acute stroke care units and to highintens­ity rehabilita­tion and poststroke community support.

Prof Ranta said Maori and Pasifika were 15 years younger on average than other New Zealanders when they experience­d a stroke, Maori patients in particular experienci­ng a higher risk of death 12 months after stroke.

This is despite Maori gaining access to hospital care in a timely fashion, and with no overall difference in their access to therapies used to restore blood flow through or around blocked arteries.

‘‘Of course, many Maori reside rurally and are thus disproport­ionately affected by the geographic inequities uncovered by the research.’’

Prof Ranta said early findings from the study suggest more Maori patients may be missing out on optimal secondary stroke prevention.

‘‘What was shown unequivoca­lly is that culturally appropriat­e support services are not being accessed consistent­ly by Maori and Pasifika patients.’’

Feedback also highlighte­d the need for greater geographic equity of access, culturally appropriat­e and equitable care and better resources made available to people with stroke following hospital discharge.

The findings of the research were presented at the National Stroke Network’s conference in Wellington on Thursday.


 ??  ?? Anna Ranta
Anna Ranta

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