American Stroke Association And Duke Clinical Research Institute Release: New Study Targets Long-Term Stroke Prevention Adherence

DALLAS, May 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Stroke Association in collaboration with Duke Clinical Research Institute has launched a groundbreaking study, AVAIL (Adherence Evaluation After Ischemic Stroke Longitudinal Registry), to evaluate patient adherence to stroke prevention strategies.

Enrollment of 3,000 acute stroke patients for the study will begin in early summer. Patient adherence to recommended stroke treatments will be studied over the year following hospital discharge as well as long-term patient outcomes and functional recovery. AVAIL will help physicians understand factors associated with adherence and lead to improvement of long- term care of stroke patients.

"When we understand the factors that impact patient adherence to stroke prevention medications long-term, then we will have opportunities to develop new quality improvement initiatives. AVAIL is clearly the first step," said Cheryl Bushnell, MD, MHS, AVAIL's co-principal investigator and assistant professor of neurology at Duke University Medical Center.

More than 700,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke annually; one stroke occurs every 45 seconds. The direct and indirect costs of stroke in the United States reach $54 billion each year.

AVAIL is a multi-center, nationwide initiative that will longitudinally assess secondary risk reduction processes and treatment adherence among patients who have been hospitalized with stroke. AVAIL will be implemented in cooperation with the American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines- Stroke(SM) (GWTG) program.

GWTG-Stroke is designed to improve acute ischemic stroke care from admission to hospital discharge. The GWTG-Stroke Patient Management Tool(TM) was developed in conjunction with, and the hospital network is managed by, Outcome Sciences, Inc. d/b/a Outcome (Cambridge, Mass.). Assistance for this research project, and permission to use program materials was provided by Outcome.

"We are making great strides with improving the quality of in-hospital stroke care with GWTG, but AVAIL will ensure that these efforts during the hospitalization will translate into long-term improvements in stroke care," said Lee Schwamm, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School and Director, TeleStroke & Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Information about the secondary risk-reduction regimens and downstream clinical events will be collected via inpatient hospital records and interviews with study participants in the year following the stroke. Most efforts to date have been limited to inpatient care. Patient adherence to evidence-based therapies following a hospitalization is poorly understood, and represents a new opportunity in quality improvement and better patient care.

Other plans include performing secondary descriptive analyses to evaluate the quality of discharge and long-term stroke care among specific patient and hospital subgroups. Results from this study may help to develop future quality improvement initiatives, targeted to address specific treatment gaps in the outpatient care of stroke patients.

The study is funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi Pharmaceuticals Partnership. For more information about AVAIL call the information line at (919) 668-8892.

About Duke:

The mission of the DCRI is to develop and share knowledge that improves the care of patients around the world through innovative clinical research. Improving healthcare for all patients is at the heart of everything the DCRI does. As the oldest and largest academic research organization, we believe that all research should focus on advancing the practice of medicine, and we design our projects accordingly. By staying true to this mission, our clients get robust projects tailored to their needs and patients receive the benefits of expanded clinical knowledge.

About the American Stroke Association:

The goal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, is to reduce disability and death from stroke through research, education and advocacy. In its 2004-05 fiscal year, the association spent more than $151 million on stroke.

American Stroke Association; Duke Clinical Research Institute

CONTACT: Patricia Beatty-Gonzalez of American Stroke Association,+1-214-706-1285, or

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