Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stroke Association Cites Racial Disparities in Stroke Care

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Studies show that minorities who suffer strokes are less knowledgeable than whites about risk factors and are slower to receive care when every minute counts, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Loyola University Health System stroke specialist Dr. José Biller is a member of the panel of experts who wrote the statement, which was published online May 26 in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The report said there are disparities in every aspect of stroke care. Minorities use fewer emergency medical services, have delayed arrival in emergency rooms and longer waiting times and are less likely to receive tPA, the clot-busting drug used to treat the majority of strokes caused by blood clots.

The panel said there also are disparities between whites and minorities in awareness of risk factors, stroke signs and symptoms, and the need for urgent treatment.

Biller noted that racial and ethnic minorities are expected to account for nearly 40 percent of the population by 2030. Health-care providers must therefore be knowledgeable about the effects that race and ethnicity have on stroke epidemiology and access to care.

"Further research is urgently needed," Biller said. "We also need to develop new strategies to reduce racial and ethnic disparities and to improve the quality and efficiency of care."

Biller is an internationally known stroke specialist and chairman of the Department of Neurology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.