Background: Earlier research showed that healthcare in stroke could be better organized, aiming for improved survival and less comorbidity. Therefore, in 2004 the Dutch College of General Practitioners (NHG) and the Dutch Association of Neurology (NVN) introduced the 'Dutch Transmural Protocol TIA/CVA' (the LTA) to improve survival, minimize the risk of stroke recurrence, and increase quality of life after stroke. This study examines whether survival improved after implementation of the new protocol, and whether there was an increase in contacts with the general practitioner (GP)/nurse practitioner, registration of comorbidity and prescription of medication.
Methods: From the primary care database of the Registration Network Groningen (RNG) two cohorts were composed: one cohort compiled before and one after introduction of the LTA. Cohort 1 (n = 131, first stroke 2001-2002) was compared with cohort 2 (n = 132, first stroke 2005-2006) with regard to survival and the secondary outcomes.
Results: Comparison of the two cohorts showed no significant improvement in survival. In cohort 2, the number of contacts with the GP was significantly lower and with the nurse practitioner significantly higher, compared with cohort 1. All risk factors for stroke were more prevalent in cohort 2, but were only significant for hypercholesterolemia. In both cohorts more medication was prescribed after stroke, whereas ACE inhibitors were prescribed more frequently only in cohort 2.
Conclusion: No major changes in survival and secondary outcomes were apparent after introduction of the LTA. Although, there was a small improvement in secondary prevention, this study shows that optimal treatment after introduction of the LTA has not yet been achieved.