Risk factor management is the key to stroke prevention. Although several studies have assessed the awareness of different risk factors in the general public, there are limited data available on how well acute stroke patients know their own risk factors. The aim of this study was to assess stroke patients' informedness of their own stroke risk factors.
All consecutive eligible acute stroke and transient ischemic attack patients hospitalized at the Tartu University Hospital, Department of Neurology, during 9 months in 2010 were interviewed about different stroke risk factors within 72 hours from hospitalization. The respective information was also retrieved from medical records.
Of the 341 patients admitted during the study period, 195 were eligible for the interview. Diabetes was the best known risk factor (89%) followed by hypertension (80%), atrial fibrillation (78%), previous stroke (77%), and heart failure and/or ischemic heart disease (66%).
We found that acute stroke patients are best informed of their diabetes and worst informed of their ischemic heart disease and/or heart failure. There is, however, room for amelioration in the awareness of all of the studied risk factors. More attention should be addressed to explaining the risks and treatment options to patients at risk of stroke and the general population.
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Published online: November 30, 2015
Accepted: October 31, 2015
Received in revised form: September 23, 2015
Received: February 9, 2015
The study was supported by the Estonian Research Council IUT2–4 grant.
© 2016 National Stroke Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.