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CMAJ. 2002 Sep 17;167(6):655-60.

Description and evaluation of an acute stroke unit.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University and Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, NS.


Clinical trials have demonstrated the superiority of coordinated interdisciplinary stroke unit care over conventional treatment of stroke patients on general medical wards. The evidence is so strong that several national bodies have recommended that stroke unit care be widely implemented. Translation of these research findings and care guidelines into clinical practice, however, represents a challenge for health care systems unaccustomed to managing stroke in a coordinated manner. This report describes the organization, operation and outcomes of the Acute Stroke Unit at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. By replicating and adapting the core characteristics identified in the randomized trials, we have been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of stroke unit care in a routine clinical setting. Our experience may help facilitate the development of organized stroke care in Canada.

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