Open Access Open Badges Research article

Performance measures for in-hospital care of acute ischemic stroke in public hospitals in Chile

Lorena Hoffmeister1*, Pablo M Lavados23, Merce Comas4, Carolina Vidal1, Rodrigo Cabello1 and Xavier Castells4

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile

2 Neurology Service, Clínica Alemana de Santiago, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile

3 Department of Neurological Sciences, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile

4 Department of Epidemiology and Evaluation, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona; IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), Barcelona; Red de Investigación en Servicios de Salud en Enfermedades Crónicas (REDISSEC), Mar Teaching Hospital, 25-29 Passeig Marítim, Barcelona, 08003, Spain

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BMC Neurology 2013, 13:23  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-23

Published: 6 March 2013



The aim of this study were to describe acute care of ischemic stroke patients and adherence to performance measures, as well as the outcomes of these events, in a sample of patients treated in public hospitals in Chile.


We retrospectively reviewed the medical charts of patients with ischemic stroke from a sample of seven public hospitals in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago. We analyzed adherence to the following evidence-based measures: clinical evaluation at admission, use of intravenous thrombolysis, dysphagia screening and prescription of antithrombotic therapy at discharge. As outcome measures we analyzed post-stroke pneumonia and 30-day case-fatality. We used a logistic regression model by each outcome with generalized estimating equations, which accounted for clustering of patients within hospitals and included sex, age (years), clinical status at admission (reduced level of consciousness, speech disturbance, aphasia and hemiplegia), comorbidities, dysphagia screening and neurological evaluation at admission as measures of acute stroke care.


We reviewed the charts of 677 patients, of which 52.3% were men. The mean age was 69.8 years in women and 66.3 years in men. Diagnosis of stroke was confirmed by a computed tomography scan within 4.5 hours of symptom onset in only 9.6% of the patients. Intravenous thrombolysis was administered in 1.7%. Dysphagia screening was performed in 12.1% (95% CI 9.7-15.0) and antithrombotic therapy was prescribed in 68.9% (95% CI 64.6-72.9). Pneumonia was diagnosed in 23.6% (95% CI 20.4-27.2). Thirty-day fatality was 8.7% (95% CI 6.7-11.3). The variables independently associated with 30-day case fatality were age (OR 1.08, 95% 1.06-1.10), pneumonia (OR 7.7, 95% 95% CI 4.0-14.7), aphasia (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1-5.6), reduced level of consciousness (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.3-4.4), and speech disturbance (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-1.9). No association was found between 30-day case fatality and dysphagia screening or neurological evaluation at admission. The factors associated with post-stroke pneumonia were female sex (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.0-2.3), age (OR 1.04 95% CI 1.03-1.05), diagnosis of diabetes (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.4-2.4), aphasia (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.5-2.7), hemiplegia (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1-2.4), and reduced level of consciousness on admission (OR 3.4, 95% CI 2.1-5.5). No association was found between pneumonia and dysphagia screening or neurological evaluation at admission.


Adherence to evidence-based performance measures was low. Administration of intravenous thrombolysis was particularly low and diagnostic confirmation of ischemic stroke was delayed. The occurrence of post-stroke pneumonia was frequent and should be reduced. To improve acute stroke care in Chile, organizational change in the health service is urgently needed.

Acute ischemic stroke; Stroke care; Thrombolysis