A visit to the stroke belt of the United States

Department of Neurology, Narayana Medical College and Hospital, Nellore AP, India.
Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice 09/2012; 3(3):426-8. DOI: 10.4103/0976-3147.102653
Source: PubMed


Southeastern part of United States has been called the Stroke Belt due to a much higher incidence of stroke compared to the rest of the country. In this article, I summarize my 2 weeks of observations as a clinical preceptor at the Comprehensive Stroke Center, University of Alabama Hospital, Birmingham, AL. 57 patients were admitted during these 2 weeks, 61% had ischemic strokes, and 23% received intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (IV rt-PA). Endovascular neuro-interventionalists were performing diagnostic catheter angiography in 14% and emergent revascularization procedures in 7% of consecutive patients. Also, the stroke team enrolled 6 patients into National institute of health (NIH) funded clinical trials (3 Argatroban tPA stroke study (ARTSS), 2 Safety study of external counter pulsation as a treatment for acute ischemic stroke (CUFFS), 1 stenting and aggressive medical management for preventing recurrent stroke in intracranial stenosis (SAMMPRIS). In my opinion, these observations provided me with useful knowledge how to develop a cutting edge, proactive stroke treatment system. In particular, availability 24 × 7 and consistent application of a curative, "finding reasons to treat approach" coupled with state-of the-art technologies and skilled operators could make a huge difference.

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    ABSTRACT: To assess the associations of social determinants on cardiovascular health among White and Black residing in Stroke Belt (urban) and Stroke Buckle (rural) regions of the South. A cross-sectional observational analysis based on a random digit-dial telephone survey of a representative sample of White and Black adults residing in urban and rural Georgia conducted from 2004-2005. Separate logistic regression analyses examined the effects of social determinants on cardiovascular health within and between White and Black women and within and between urban and rural residential location. The main outcome measure was poor cardiovascular health defined as > or = 2 self-reported clinical cardiovascular disease risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, overweight or obese). Social determinants were defined as socioeconomic status (SES), general daily stress, racial discrimination, and stress due to exposure to racial discrimination. Significance was established as a two-tailed P < .05. A total of 674 White and Black women aged 18-90 years were included in the sample. Results showed Black women with lower SES had worse cardiovascular health than White women in both rural and urban areas (rural odds ratio [OR] 2.68; confidence interval [CI] 1.44, 4.90; P = .001; urban OR = 2.92; CI = 1.62, 5.23; P = .0003). White women reporting high or very high exposure to general daily stress where more likely to have worse cardiovascular health than White women reporting very little to no daily stress (OR = 2.85; CI = 1.49, 5.44; P = .001). Our findings demonstrate the importance of social determinants associated with cardiovascular health. Tailored cardiovascular risk reduction intervention is needed among lower SES Black women in Stroke Belt and Buckle regions of the South, as well as stress-reduction intervention among White women in the South.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Ethnicity & disease