Background: Patients with acute stroke often have a striking lack of knowledge of causes, warning signs, and risk factors. Lack of knowledge may lead to inappropriate secondary prevention behavior. We investigated the knowledge of patients with a TIA or minor stroke about specific aspects of their disease 3 months after the event. Methods: Patients with a TIA or minor stroke who participated in a randomized controlled trial of the effect of health education by an individualized multimedia computer program (IMCP) were included. All patients received information about their disease from their treating neurologist and half of the patients received extra information through the IMCP. The patients' knowledge was tested after 3 months by means of a questionnaire that contained items on pathogenesis, warning signs, vascular diseases, risk factors, lifestyle and treatment. The highest possible score was 71 points. Results: The 57 patients had a mean total score of 41.2 points (SD 10.4) of the maximum 71. Only 15 (26%) correctly identified the brain as the affected organ in stroke and TIA, and only 21 (37%) could give a correct description of a TIA or stroke. In contrast, 80-90% of the patients identified hypertension and/or obesity as vascular risk factors. Knowledge of various treatment modalities of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and obesity was moderate to high (40-91% adequate responses). Conclusion: The vast majority of patients with TIA or stroke lack specific knowledge about their disease, but they do have a reasonable knowledge of general vascular risk factors and treatment. This suggests that counseling by neurologists of patients with a TIA or stroke can be improved. Copyright

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Cerebrovascular Diseases
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Maasland, L., Koudstaal, P., Habbema, D., & Dippel, D. (2007). Knowledge and understanding of disease process, risk factors and treatment modalities in patients with a recent TIA or minor ischemic stroke. Cerebrovascular Diseases, 23(5-6), 435–440. doi:10.1159/000101468