Study: Delayed stroke treatment precipitates stiff costs for healthcare

Delaying treatment for stroke patients may significantly increase healthcare and societal costs and shorten quality of life for every hour that goes by, according to a study presented Oct. 18 at the World Stroke Congress in Montreal, Québec, Canada.

“Faster treatment results in better outcomes and better quality of life,” author Michael Hill, MD, of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada said in a prepared statement. “The speed of treatment is one of the modifiable factors that will improve outcomes and reduce cost at both the system and the hospital level.” 

Researchers from the University of Calgary, joined by colleagues from the U.S., U.K., France, Spain, the Netherlands and Australia, analyzed outcome records and treatment costs for ischemic stroke patients who qualified for surgical intervention, specifically an endovascular thrombectomy (EVT).  

The researchers found that within the first six hours of stroke, every hour delayed in starting an EVT resulted in the patient losing nine months of a full quality-adjusted life year (QALY), or 18 months less at 50 percent quality of life due to due disabilities, according to the researchers. Regarding cost, every hour of delayed within the first six hours cost resulted in $6,173 in healthcare costs and $7,597 in societal costs per QALY.