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Feature Article

TIA and stroke: a management guide for GPs

Henry Ma, Geoffrey Alan Donnan
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Abstract

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.

Key Points

  • 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).

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