Acute ischemic stroke management in Lebanon: obstacles and solutions
Original Article, 167 - 176Tag this article
Management of acute stroke varies greatly within and between different countries. This study assesses the current practices of physicians in Lebanon routinely involved in ischemic stroke (IS) management. We conducted a prospective observational study of patients hospitalized at 8 different Lebanese hospitals in the period August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016, with a diagnosis of acute stroke. Baseline characteristics and data on diagnostic studies, as well as treatments received during hospitalization and at discharge, were collected and analyzed. Two hundred and three strokes/transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) were recorded but only 173 patients (85%) with ischemic events were included in the study. The patients’ mean age was 69.8±12.7 years. All underwent brain imaging (CT scan and/or MRI) on admission. All ISs were managed by a neurologist, and patient management included consultation of a cardiologist. Hypertension was the most prevalent risk factor (78.6%), followed by a current cigarette smoking habit (50.3%), diabetes mellitus (42.8%), hypercholesterolemia (39.9%), previous stroke or TIA (17.3%), and atrial fibrillation (14.7%). Only four patients (accounting for 2.5% of the ISs) received thrombolytic therapy. More than 89% of the patients were discharged on at least one anti-hypertensive drug, 89.2% on statins and 37.6% on antidiabetic medications. More than 55% of patients were dependent at discharge, as shown by a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score of 0-2, whereas 33% were independent (mRS score of 3-5). There are many challenges facing stroke care in Lebanon, and there is potential for improvement in this setting. Reperfusion therapy is still largely underused and remains a major challenge in achieving guideline-based reperfusion goals.
KEY WORDS: acute, ischemic, Lebanon, management, stroke.