Risk factors of stroke in Pakistan: a dedicated stroke clinic experience.
Secondary prevention of cerebrovascular disease through dedicated stroke clinics has been shown to decrease recurrent vascular events in patients. However, there is limited literature describing such stroke clinic experiences from low and middle income countries. This study describes patient characteristics and observations made at the first systematized stroke clinic in Pakistan. A retrospective audit of medical records of all patients presenting between September 2006 and August 2008 with a cerebrovascular event was conducted. Information about clinical presentation, modifiable risk factors and laboratory and radiological investigations was collected. Burden of disability was assessed using Modified Rankin score. Data was entered and analyzed using SPSS 14.0. 159 patients with a mean age of 57.0 +/- 13.9 years were included in this study and 34.6% of all patients were women. 108 patients were diagnosed with ischemic stroke (67.9%) while 34 patients presented with hemorrhagic stroke (21.4%) and 17 patients presented with transient ischemic attacks (10.7%). Hypertension was the most common modifiable risk factor seen in 78.0%, followed by diabetes in 40.3% and dyslipidemia in 31.5%. At presentation to clinic, only 26.0% patients with dyslipidemia and 64.5% patients with hypertension were on appropriate medications. A high prevalence of modifiable risk factors such as hypertension in stroke patients was observed and it presents an opportunity for conventional interventions in Pakistan. Systematized clinics for stroke and an algorithmic approach in primary care towards stroke may improve the implementation of evidence based secondary prevention strategies in developing countries.