1) To evaluate whether transient ischemic attack (TIA) management in emergency departments (EDs) of the Nova Scotia Capital District Health Authority followed Canadian Best Practice Recommendations, and 2) to assess the impact of being followed up in a dedicated outpatient neurovascular clinic.
Retrospective chart review of all patients discharged from EDs in our district from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012 with a diagnosis of TIA. Cox proportional hazards models, Kaplan-Meier survival curve, and propensity matched analyses were used to evaluate 90-day mortality and readmission.
Of the 686 patients seen in the ED for TIA, 88.3% received computed tomography (CT) scanning, 86.3% received an electrocardiogram (ECG), 35% received vascular imaging within 24 hours of triage, 36% were seen in a neurovascular clinic, and 4.2% experienced stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death within 90 days. Rates of antithrombotic use were increased in patients seen in a neurovascular clinic compared to those who were not (94% v. 86.3%, p<0.0001). After adjustment for age, sex, vascular disease risk factors, and stroke symptoms, the risk of readmission for stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death was lower for those seen in a neurovascular clinic compared to those who were not (adjusted hazard ratio 0.28; 95% confidence interval 0.08–0.99, p=0.048).
The majority of patients in our study were treated with antithrombotic agents in the ED and investigated with CT and ECG within 24 hours; however, vascular imaging and neurovascular clinic follow-up were underutilized. For those with neurovascular clinic follow-up, there was an association with reduced risk of subsequent stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death.