Effectiveness of establishing a dedicated acute stroke unit in routine clinical practice in Israel

Silvia Koton, Yvonne Schwammenthal, Oleg Merzeliak, Tamar Philips, Rakefet Tsabari, Bella Bruk, David Orion, Zeev Rotstein, Joab Chapman, David Tanne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Clinical trials have demonstrated the superiority of managing acute stroke in a dedicated stroke unit over conventional treatment in general medical wards. Based on these findings, nationwide stroke unit care programs have been implemented in several countries. Objective: To assess the effect of establishing a new dedicated acute stroke unit within a department of neurology on indicators of process of care and outcome of acute stroke in a routine clinical setting in Israel. Methods: Stroke patients admitted to the Sheba Medical Center during the period March 2001 to June 2002 were included in a prospective study according to selection criteria. Data on demographics, risk factors, co-morbidities and stroke severity were collected. Indicators of process of care and outcome were assessed at hospital discharge and 30 days follow-up. Comparison between outcome variables by hospitalization ward was done using logistic regression analysis adjusting for confounders. Results: Of 616 acute stroke patients (mean age 70 years, 61% men, 84% ischemic stroke), 353 (57%) were admitted to general wards and 263 (43%) to the stroke unit. Diagnostic procedures were performed more often and the infection rate was lower in the setting of the stroke unit. Poor outcome (modified Rankin scale ≥3 or death) was present less often in patients managed in the stroke unit both at hospital discharge (adjusted odds ratio 0.5, 95% confidence interval 0.3-0.8) and at 30 day follow-up (adjusted OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.3-0.9). A Functional Independence Measure score ≤90 or death at 30 day follow-up was less frequent among patients managed in the stroke unit than in general wards (adjusted OR 0.5, 95%CI 0.2-0.8). Conclusions: Improved outcomes and higher adherence to guidelines were observed in patients treated in a stroke unit within a department of neurology. The results suggest that patients with acute stroke should have access to treatment in a dedicated stroke unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-693
Number of pages6
JournalThe Israel Medical Association journal : IMAJ
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute stroke unit
  • Israel
  • Outcome
  • Process of care
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine(all)


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