The benefit of an acute stroke unit in patients with intracranial haemorrhage: a controlled trial.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES Patients with stroke receiving organised inpatient (stroke unit) care after stroke are more likely to be alive and independent compared with patients offered conventional care. The objective was to determine the effect of an acute stroke unit on patients with primary intracranial haemorrhage. METHODS In a prospective controlled study, the effect of an acute stroke unit was examined on 30 day and 1 year mortality in patients with primary intracranial haemorrhage. Patients treated in general medical wards served as controls. RESULTS Of 121 patients included, 56 were allocated to an acute stroke unit and 65 to a general medical ward. The 30 day mortality rate was 39% in the acute stroke unit compared with 63% in the general medical wards, and the 1 year mortality rates were 52% and 69%, respectively. There was a difference between the 30 day and 1 year survival curves between the groups (p=0.007 and 0.013, respectively); however, there was no difference in survival between 30 and 365 days. There was no difference in risks of being discharged home or to long term care between the groups. CONCLUSIONS In this study admission to an acute stroke unit reduced mortality 30 days and 1 year after primary intracranial haemorrhage, which could be attributed to a large difference in survival during the first 30 days.

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