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Friday, 2 June, 2000, 00:01 GMT 01:01 UK
Hospital 'worst place for a stroke'
Stroke patient
Strokes suffered in hospitals lead to longer stays
The worst place to suffer a stroke is on a hospital ward, researchers have found.

A study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that patients who have a stroke while in hospital remain there longer and are more likely to die in hospital than patients who are admitted following a stroke.

A team from University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, compared the outcomes of two groups of patients - those admitted to hospital with a stroke, and those who had a stroke while in hospital for another reason.

We are very concerned by the number of patients potentially effected

Eoin Redahan, The Stroke Association
Although both groups were of a similar age and sex, 60% of inpatients died in hospital compared with 28% of admitted patients.

Inpatients remained in hospital for an average of 31 days compared to 16 days for admitted patients.

Researcher Dr Anil Sharma told BBC News Online the main reason that inpatients fared worse was that they already suffered from other diseases.

However, he also said that assessment of risk was not as good for inpatients as it was for those admitted with stroke.

He said: "There is now good evidence that care of stroke patients by a specialist stroke team preferably on a stroke unit improves eventual outcome quite significantly.

"Unfortunately this is only available in no more than half the hospitals in the country - and even in those that can provide this service, only some patients can access it due to limited provision."

Key personnel

Dr Sharma said key hospital personnel should be identified and given responsibility for overseeing stroke care.

New resources were also needed to ensure top quality care for stroke patients.

Eoin Redahan, of The Stroke Association, said research had shown that stroke patients treated by stroke specialists are 25% more likely to survive than those who are not.

He said: "We are therefore not completely surprised by the results of this new research, although we are very concerned by the number of patients potentially affected.

"It is vital that there is greater awareness of stroke and more stroke specialists working within the NHS. We urge the government to address these deficiencies as soon as possible."

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14 Apr 99 | Health
Stroke care in crisis
02 Jul 99 | Health
Stroke delays increase deaths
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