More attention post stroke drops disability

PAYING increased attention to fever, hyperglycaemia and dysphagia in patients after acute stroke can dramatically improve disability rates post-discharge, an Australian trial shows.

Researchers from the Australian Catholic University measured the effect of a three-pronged nurse-delivered intervention including team building, education and ‘site champions’ in 19 NSW multidisciplinary acute stroke units.

They showed 558 acute stroke patients treated in the group receiving the Fever, Sugar, Swallowing (FeSS) intervention were 15.7% less likely to be dead or dependent at 90 days compared with a control group where teams received only abridged guidelines.

The authors said the results were remarkable compared with interventions such as administering aspirin within 48 hours or thrombolysis within 4.5 hours.

“All have higher numbers needed to treat... than our intervention to realise a benefit,” they said.