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Receipt of cardiac screening does not influence 1-year post-cerebrovascular event mortality.

Sico JJ, Baye F, Myers LJ, Concato J, Ferguson J, Cheng EM, Jadbabaie F, Yu Z, Arling G, Zillich AJ, Reeves MJ, Williams LS, Bravata DM. Receipt of cardiac screening does not influence 1-year post-cerebrovascular event mortality. Neurology. Clinical practice. 2018 Jun 1; 8(3):192-200.

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Background: American Heart Association/American Stroke Association expert consensus guidelines recommend consideration of cardiac stress testing to screen for occult coronary heart disease (CHD) among patients with ischemic stroke/TIA who have a high-risk Framingham Cardiac Risk Score (FCRS). Whether this guideline is being implemented in routine clinical practice, and the association of its implementation with mortality, is less clear. Methods: Study participants were Veterans with stroke/TIA (n = 11,306) during fiscal year 2011 who presented to a VA Emergency Department or who were admitted. Patients were excluded (n = 6,915) based on prior CHD/angina/chest pain history, receipt of cardiac stress testing within 18 months prior to cerebrovascular event, death within 90 days of discharge, discharge to hospice, transfer to a non-VA acute care facility, or missing/unknown race. FCRS 20% was classified as high risk for CHD. ICD-9 and Common Procedural Terminology codes were used to identify receipt of any cardiac stress testing. Results: Among 4,391 eligible patients, 62.8% (n = 2,759) had FCRS 20%. Cardiac stress testing was performed infrequently and in similar proportion among high-risk (4.5% [123/2,759]) vs low/intermediate-risk (4.4% [72/1,632]) patients (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.77, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.54-1.10). Receipt of stress testing was not associated with reduced 1-year mortality (aOR 0.59, CI 0.26-1.30). Conclusions: In this observational cohort study of patients with cerebrovascular disease, cardiac screening was relatively uncommon and was not associated with 1-year mortality. Additional work is needed to understand the utility of CHD screening among high-risk patients with cerebrovascular disease.

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