Supplementary Material for: Patient Recognition of and Response to Symptoms of TIA or Stroke

Background and Purpose: Campaigns within Australia and internationally have sought to increase awareness of the emergent nature of stroke. For these initiatives to be effective it is important to gather information about delay in seeking treatment and the reasons given for the delay by people with stroke. The purpose of this study was to examine delay in seeking treatment in people with an evolving stroke or TIA and identify clinical, behavioral and demographic factors that contributed to the delay. Subjects and Methods: During a 1-year period 150 participants were given the Response to Stroke Symptoms Questionnaire. The six domains included in the questionnaire were: (1) context in which the stroke occurred; (2) antecedents to symptoms; (3) affective response to symptoms; (4) behavioral response to symptoms; (5) cognitive response to symptoms; (6) the response of others to patient symptoms. Results: The median delay time from symptom onset to admission to hospital was 4.5 h. While 41% of participants delayed less than 3 h, more than 45% delayed greater than 6 h. Independent predictors of delay time included mode of arrival at hospital with those taking an ambulance having a median delay time of 2.7 h vs. 15.4 h for those arriving by private car (p = 0.04). Gender also predicted delay with women delaying longer (p = 0.001). The first response of others was also an independent predictor of delay time (p = 0.003) with those who called the emergency services number or took the patient to hospital resulting in the shortest patient delays. Finally, if the patient appraised their symptoms as serious they had a shorter delay time (p = 0.02). Conclusions: The message about the emergent nature of stroke may be helping to improve delay times. However, there are still many people who delay greater than 3 h after symptom onset. It is important to direct education programs to those with known risk factors for stroke and their families, who often make the decision to call an ambulance.