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At risk.

Stroke patients with dementia not given preventive care

STROKE PATIENTS WITH DEMENTIA OFTEN don't receive prescribed drugs that could prevent repeated occurrences of stroke, according to a report in the July issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. According to the study, a stroke victim with dementia is 2.5 times less likely a stroke victim with no dementia to receive aspirin or warfarin, two standard blood clot-prevention medications that can improve blood flow and help reduce the risk of a subsequent stroke.

Researchers studied 272 people over the age of 60 who suffered an isehemic stroke. Caused by a reduction in blood flow to the brain caused by a blood clot or blocked artery, these account for 80 percent of strokes.

The study concluded that 33 percent of untreated patients had an "adverse outcome," such as a second stroke or death, compared with only 18 percent of treated patients.

Discharge to a long term care facility may account for some patients not receiving the medication they need, theorizes Joan T. Moroney, MD, of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. "Often, the anticoagulant medication that's given at the hospital is not continued at a long term care facility," she says, noting that many doctors are concerned about the risk of bleeding associated with anticoagulant drugs, especially with patients who have trouble walking and are susceptible to falls. "It may be that the side effects are too great, but the reasons are not well understood."

More frequent use of aspirin and warfarin in stroke patients with dementia may reduce their risk of recurrent stroke and death. researchers conclude.
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Article Details
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Publication:Contemporary Long Term Care
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 1999
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Next Article:Be prepared.

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