Effective stroke treatment in young women could hinge on multidisciplinary approach

A multidisciplinary approach to diagnosing and treating stroke could be critical for improved survival in young women, a study published in the January issue of Academic Emergency Medicine suggests.

Columbia University professor and lead author Bernard P. Chang, MD, PhD, and his team focused on the “unique” challenges young women face when it comes to ischemic stroke, officials from the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) said in a release. This demographic in particular suffers from a lack of transparency and education on the subject. Improving outcomes, Chang et al. wrote in their study, could hinge on educating both emergency physicians and young women themselves.

Chang, whose research centers around the psychological and cardiovascular outcomes of ischemic stroke and acute coronary syndrome, proposed a handful of opportunities clinicians could take advantage of, including creating and applying clinical decision rules, designing educational campaigns for young women and emergency medicine providers and heightened awareness of preventive strategies that could be applied in the emergency room and ultimately lead to life-saving interventions.

“The findings support the need to increase transparency and align incentives so that efficient, cost-effective, high-quality, definitive patient-centered care can be provided for all patients,” SAEM stated.

Carolinas Medical Center professor Andrew W. Asimos, MD, encouraged early detection and close consideration of a handful of risk factors in young women that could help identify ischemic stroke prior to fatal complications.

“As with other thromboembolic disease processes, this review stresses the importance of recognizing non-atherosclerotic risk factors in premenopausal women that may predispose them to stroke,” he said in the release. “While future research in predictive modeling may lead to a decision rule that formally includes some of all of these risk factors, exploring for their existence in young women may help prompt diagnostic consideration for stroke, even with subtler clinical presentations. As machine learning and other artificial intelligence becomes increasingly integrated with the electronic medical record, I envision a future in which clinicians may be prompted to consider stroke in young women based on the presence of these risk factors.”