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Stroke. 2001 Aug;32(8):1884-9.

Compliance with secondary prevention of ischemic stroke: a prospective evaluation.

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Department of Neurology, Stroke Unit, Universitätsklinikum Benjamin Franklin, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.



Compliance with pharmacological therapy is essential for the efficiency of secondary prevention of ischemic stroke. Few data exist regarding patient compliance with antithrombotic and risk factor treatment outside of controlled clinical trials. The aim of the present study was to assess the rate of and predictors for compliance with secondary stroke prevention 1 year after cerebral ischemia and to identify reasons for noncompliance.


Patients with a diagnosis of ischemic stroke or TIA and antithrombotic discharge medication were prospectively recruited. At 1 year, the proportion of patients compliant with antithrombotic treatment and with medication for risk factors (eg, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia) was evaluated through structured telephone interviews. In addition, the reasons for nontreatment with antithrombotic and risk factor medication were determined. Independent predictors for compliance were analyzed by logistic regression analyses.


Of 588 consecutive patients admitted to our stroke unit, 470 had a discharge diagnosis of cerebral ischemia (TIA 26.2%, cerebral infarct 73.8%) and recommendations for antithrombotic therapy. At 1 year, 63 patients (13.4%) had died and 21 (4.5%) were lost to follow-up, thus, 386 could finally be evaluated. Of the patients, 87.6% were still on antithrombotic medication, and 70.2% were treated with the same agent prescribed on discharge. Of the patients with hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia, 90.8%, 84.9%, and 70.2% were still treated for their respective risk factors. Logistic regression analyses revealed age (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.06), stroke severity on admission (OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.20), and cardioembolic cause (OR 4.13, 95% CI 1.23 to 13.83) as independent predictors of compliance.


Compliance with secondary prevention in patients with ischemic stroke is rather good in the setting of our study. Higher age, a more severe neurological deficit on admission, and cardioembolic stroke cause are associated with better long-term compliance. Knowledge of these determinants may help to further improve the quality of stroke prevention.

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