Description of research
Aim: This study will investigate how other illnesses can affect stroke treatment and outcome.
Background: Stroke can have a devastating impact on a person’s life and family. This could be made worse if they have other illnesses at the time of stroke. There's a lack of research investigating this, but it's an important area that needs to be explored.
Methods: I'll use a dataset of all stroke patients in Scotland from 2005 to 2015, which contains approximately 100,000 records. This dataset will be linked to hospital admission data, death records and a record of medical prescriptions.
I'll see how the number and type of other illnesses occurring in people with stroke influence their stroke treatment in hospital. Analysis of what happens after the stroke will include how long a person has stayed in hospital, their risk of having another stroke and/or being admitted to the hospital again, and their risk of death. I'll investigate medicines used to prevent stroke, for example, to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, before and after a patient has had a stroke. I'll analyse if poor health before stroke affects prescription of stroke-preventing medication.
These findings will help the development of an aid for doctors and patients to make shared decisions on appropriate medication, in order to minimise the chances of having another stroke.
Expected outcomes: This study could improve our understanding of how other illnesses affect the treatment and outcome of stroke. Using the information on a person’s health and medicines to assess their risk of having another stroke will help ensure they are receiving the best treatment. The results of this study could help influence current medical practice and provide evidence for care guidelines. This could, in turn, help support improvements in stroke care for patients in the UK and beyond.