Study reveals steep cost of delaying stroke treatment

Study reveals steep cost of delaying stroke treatment

By staff writers

October 18, 2018 — Researchers from Canada have found that delaying treatment for stroke patients results in increasingly greater healthcare and societal costs and reductions in quality of life — with costs rising with every passing hour, according to an October 18 presentation at the World Stroke Congress in Montreal.

The group from the University of Calgary collaborated with an international team of investigators from the U.S., U.K., Spain, France, Australia, and the Netherlands to quantify the consequences of delaying surgical intervention — i.e., endovascular thrombectomy — in patients within the first six hours after they had a stroke.

On average, every hour of delayed stroke treatment due to transfer to a stroke center or for brain CT, for example, resulted in a loss of nine months of a full quality-adjusted life year (QALY) or of 18 months at half the quality of life because of resulting disabilities. In terms of cost, every hour of delay resulted in additional healthcare costs of $6,173 per QALY and societal costs of $7,597 per QALY.

“Faster treatment results in better outcomes and better quality of life,” said co-author Dr. Michael Hill in a statement from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “The speed of treatment is one of the modifiable factors that will improve outcomes and reduce cost at both the system and the hospital level.”