Risk of Subsequent Stroke Among Patients Receiving Outpatient vs Inpatient Care for Transient Ischemic Attack

Key PointsQuestion  Does the risk of subsequent stroke differ by care setting among patients with transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke?

Findings  In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 226 683 unique patients in 71 unique studies, patients cared for in a TIA clinic vs as inpatients had similar risks of subsequent stroke. Patients who were treated in emergency departments without further follow-up had a higher risk of subsequent stroke than those treated as inpatients or in TIA clinics.

Meaning  In this study, the risk of subsequent stroke among patients who received treatment in a TIA clinic was not higher than those who were hospitalized.

Abstract

Importance  Transient ischemic attack (TIA) often indicates a high risk of subsequent cerebral ischemic events. Timely preventive measures improve the outcome.

Objective  To estimate and compare the risk of subsequent ischemic stroke among patients with TIA or minor ischemic stroke (mIS) by care setting.

Data Sources  MEDLINE, Web of Science, Scopus, Embase, International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, ClinicalTrials.gov, Trip Medical Database, CINAHL, and all Evidence-Based Medicine review series were searched from the inception of each database until October 1, 2020.

Study Selection  Studies evaluating the occurrence of ischemic stroke after TIA or mIS were included. Cohorts without data on evaluation time for reporting subsequent stroke, with retrospective diagnosis of the index event after stroke occurrence, and with a report of outcomes that were not limited to patients with TIA or mIS were excluded. Two authors independently screened the titles and abstracts and provided the list of candidate studies for full-text review; discrepancies and disagreements in all steps of the review were addressed by input from a third reviewer.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  The study was prepared and reported following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses, Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology, Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews, and Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research guidelines. The Risk of Bias in Nonrandomized Studies—of Exposures (ROBINS-E) tool was used for critical appraisal of cohorts, and funnel plots, Begg-Mazumdar rank correlation, Kendall τ2, and the Egger bias test were used for evaluating the publication bias. All meta-analyses were conducted under random-effects models.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Risk of subsequent ischemic stroke among patients with TIA or mIS who received care at rapid-access TIA or neurology clinics, inpatient units, emergency departments (EDs), and unspecified or multiple settings within 4 evaluation intervals (ie, 2, 7, 30, and 90 days).

Results  The analysis included 226 683 patients from 71 articles recruited between 1981 and 2018; 5636 patients received care at TIA clinics (mean [SD] age, 65.7 [3.9] years; 2291 of 4513 [50.8%] men), 130 139 as inpatients (mean [SD] age, 78.3 [4.0] years; 49 458 of 128 745 [38.4%] men), 3605 at EDs (mean [SD] age, 68.9 [3.9] years; 1596 of 3046 [52.4%] men), and 87 303 patients received care in an unspecified setting (mean [SD] age, 70.8 [3.8] years, 43 495 of 87 303 [49.8%] men). Among the patients who were treated at a TIA clinic, the risk of subsequent stroke following a TIA or mIS was 0.3% (95% CI, 0.0%-1.2%) within 2 days, 1.0% (95% CI, 0.3%-2.0%) within 7 days, 1.3% (95% CI, 0.4%-2.6%) within 30 days, and 2.1% (95% CI, 1.4%-2.8%) within 90 days. Among the patients who were treated as inpatients, the risk of subsequent stroke was to 0.5% (95% CI, 0.1%-1.1%) within 2 days, 1.2% (95% CI, 0.4%-2.2%) within 7 days, 1.6% (95% CI, 0.6%-3.1%) within 30 days, and 2.8% (95% CI, 2.1%-3.5%) within 90 days. The risk of stroke among patients treated at TIA clinics was not significantly different from those hospitalized. Compared with the inpatient cohort, TIA clinic patients were younger and had had lower ABCD2 (age, blood pressure, clinical features, duration of TIA, diabetes) scores (inpatients with ABCD2 score >3, 1101 of 1806 [61.0%]; TIA clinic patients with ABCD2 score >3, 1933 of 3703 [52.2%]).

Conclusions and Relevance  In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the risk of subsequent stroke among patients who were evaluated in a TIA clinic was not higher than those hospitalized. Patients who received treatment in EDs without further follow-up had a higher risk of subsequent stroke. These findings suggest that TIA clinics can be an effective component of the TIA care component pathway.

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