Abstract 3196: Effect Of Marital Status On Health-seeking Behavior Following Onset Of Acute Stroke Symptoms
Background: Each year, nearly 700,000 Americans suffer from strokes, resulting in 150,000 deaths and significant disability among survivors. Despite advances in therapeutic options for acute stroke within a critical time window, patient delay in seeking medical attention remains a significant barrier to improving outcomes. In a recent study of the effect of marital status on the timing of presentation for medical care in patients with chest pain, married men presented earlier than married women. In this study, we hypothesize that marital status is a predictor of earlier health-seeking behavior following the onset of stroke symptoms.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of 100 patients with acute stroke symptoms in our stroke alert quality initiative database who were brought by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to the Mayo Clinic Hospital, Arizona between December 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011. Nine patients were excluded due to lack of data. The database contains the following information for each patient: age, gender, marital status, the time of symptom awareness, and the time of EMS dispatch. Using both an independent samples t-Test and ANOVA, we compared the time from symptom awareness to EMS dispatch both between married and single patients, and between men and women, (married and single).
Results: The mean age of the 91 patients studied was 76 years (SD = 12.5 years) and 52% were women. Forty-five patients (49.5%) were married, and 46 (50.5%) were single. The mean time from symptom awareness to EMS activation was 52 minutes (median 21.0, SD 87.3, range 2-519 minutes.) Categorized by marital status, married patients activated EMS earlier that single patients, but this difference was not significant (43 versus 60 minutes, p=0.35.). Analyzing the data separately for gender, we found that married men activated EMS significantly earlier than married women (26 versus 72 minutes, p=0.04.). Single men activated EMS earlier than single women, but this difference was not significant (50 versus 66 minutes, p=0.60.)
Conclusions: Among persons with acute stroke symptoms, earlier medical-seeking behavior was seen in married compared to single persons, and particularly in married men. We plan to analyze a larger sample of patients, and if these preliminary findings are confirmed, we will conduct a prospective study evaluating reasons why married men with stroke symptoms seek medical attention earlier.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.