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Attitudes of Nurses Toward Disability and Treatment in Space-Occupying Middle Cerebral Artery Stroke

By Currents Editor posted 02-11-2019 14:06


By Hermann Neugebauer, Flora MalakouIngo Uttner, Melitta Köpke, Eric Jüttler, for the IGNITE Study Group (Initiative of German NeuroIntensive Trial Engagement)


Attitudes toward the degree of acceptable disability and the importance of aphasia are critical in deciding on decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC) in space-occupying middle cerebral artery stroke (SOS). The attitudes of nurses deserve strong attention, because of their close interaction with patients during acute stroke treatment.


This is a multicenter survey among 627 nurses from 132 hospitals in Germany. Questions address the acceptance of disability, importance of aphasia, and the preferred treatment in the hypothetical case of SOS.


Modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores of 1 and 2 were considered acceptable by the majority of all respondents (89.7%). A mRS of 3, 4, and 5 was considered acceptable by 60.0, 15.5, and 1.6%, respectively. DHC was indicated as the treatment of choice in 31.4%. Every third participant considered the presence of aphasia important for treatment decision (33.3%). Older respondents more often refrained from DHC, irrespective of the presence of aphasia (dominant hemisphere p = 0.001, non-dominant hemisphere p = 0.004). Differences regarding acceptable disability and treatment decision were dependent on age, sex, and having relatives with stroke.


Most German nurses indicate moderately severe disability after SOS not to be acceptable, without emphasizing the presence of aphasia. The results call for greater scientific efforts in order to find reliable predictors for outcome after SOS.

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