Timing of aspirin use in acute stroke and use of secondary prevention: stroke unit vs medical unit

Jill Reid, Mary Joan MacLeod, David Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: We aimed to study the timing of aspirin prescription in ischaemic stroke comparing patients admitted to an acute stroke unit (ASU) directly or via a general medical ward. We also analysed prescription Of secondary preventive therapies in stroke patients in an ASU. Methods: Retrospective analysis was made of medical notes and prescription records of 69 patients admitted to an ASU over a three month period to establish timing of aspirin prescription with respect to onset of stroke symptoms, CT brain scan and route of admission to the ASU, Results: CT brain scans were obtained at a median of 2.1 days post stroke (IQ range 1.3-4.3) Patients directly admitted to the ASU received aspirin earlier post admission compared to those admitted via a medical ward (0.7 vs 2.2 days, p < 0.01) and were also more likely to receive aspirin prior to CT scan being performed (57% vs 19%, p = 0.02). 86% of stroke patients were discharged on an antiplatelet therapy, 79% on a statin, 37% on a thiazide diuretic and 32% on an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin II antagonist. Conclusion: Aspirin was given more promptly in acute stroke and more commonly prior to CT scanning in an ASU compared to a medical ward. Statin therapy is used extensively in stroke but there is a much lower rate of initiation of other secondary preventive therapies (e.g. anti-hypertensive therapy) in hospital. These findings demonstrate a hesitancy in early use of aspirin amongst general physicians and lends support for the use of stroke units.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-72
Number of pages3
JournalScottish Medical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • stroke
  • aspirin
  • CT scan
  • secondary prevention


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