The incidence of stroke in Australia is about 46,000 per year. It is the third most common cause of death in this country (about 15,000 per year) and a major cause of disability. All GPs need to be aware of rapid changes occurring in management.
- Stroke is one of the major causes of death and disability in Australia.
- All cases of acute stroke should be referred directly to a hospital with imaging facilities (CT and/or MRI), and preferably a stroke unit that provides thrombolytic therapy.
- Management in a stroke unit can reduce long term outcomes of death and dependency.
- Risk factor identification and management are important.
- Early rehabilitation in a multidisciplinary team environment is ideal.
- Rural GPs are in a unique position to take on multiple roles in stroke management (physician, service co-ordinator, staff and family educator, and support service).