Patients' responses to transient ischaemic attack symptoms: a cross-sectional questionnaire study in Australian general practices.
Magin P., Dunbabin J., Goode S., Valderas JM., Levi C., D'Souza M., Marshall M., Barker D., Lasserson D.
BACKGROUND: Consensus guidelines for transient ischaemic attack (TIA) recommend urgent investigation and management, but delays in management occur and are attributable to patient and health system factors. AIM: To establish general practice patients' anticipated responses to TIA symptoms, and associations of appropriate responses. DESIGN AND SETTING: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study in Australian general practices. METHOD: Consecutive patients attending general practices completed questionnaires that contained the Stroke Action Test (STAT) adapted for TIA about demographic, health system use, and stroke risk factors. STAT elicits appropriate or inappropriate anticipated responses to 28 symptom complexes. Anticipated actions in-hours and out-of-hours were elicited. Associations of independent variables with adapted-STAT scores were tested with multiple linear regression. RESULTS: There were 854 participants (response rate 76.9%). Urgent healthcare-seeking responses to transient neurological symptoms ranged from 96.8% for right-sided weakness with dysphasia to 59.1% for sudden dizziness. Associations of higher adapted-STAT scores were older age, Indigenous status, previous after-hours services use, self-perception of health as poor, and familiarity with a stroke public awareness campaign. A personal or family history of stroke, smoking status, and time of event (in-hours/out-of-hours) were not significantly associated with adapted-STAT scores. CONCLUSION: Most general practice attendees expressed intentions to seek health care urgently for most symptoms suggestive of TIA, with highest levels of urgency observed in high stroke-risk scenarios. Intentions were not associated with a number of major risk factors for TIA and might be improved by further educational interventions, either targeted or at population level.