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Association between immigration status and ambulatory secondary stroke preventive care in Ontario, Canada


Background and objectives — Secondary stroke preventive care includes evaluation and control of vascular risk factors to prevent stroke recurrence. Our objective was to evaluate the quality of ambulatory stroke preventive care and its variation by immigration status in adult stroke survivors in Ontario, Canada.

Methods — We conducted a population-based administrative database-derived retrospective cohort study in Ontario, Canada. Using immigration records, we defined immigrants as those immigrating after 1985 and long-term residents as those arriving before 1985 or those born in Canada. We included community-dwelling stroke survivors 40 years and older with a first-ever stroke between 2011 and 2017. In the year following their stroke, we evaluated the following metrics of stroke prevention: testing for hyperlipidemia and diabetes; among those with the condition, control of diabetes (hemoglobin A1c ≤7%) and hyperlipidemia (low-density lipoprotein <2 mmol/L); medication use to control hypertension, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation; and visit to a family physician and a specialist (neurologist, cardiologist, or geriatrician). We determined age and sex-adjusted absolute prevalence difference (APD) between immigrants and long-term residents for each metric using generalized linear models with binomial distribution and an identity link function.

Results — We included 34,947 stroke survivors (median age 70 years, 46.9% women) of whom 12.4% were immigrants. The receipt of each metric ranged from 68% to 90%. Compared with long-term residents, after adjusting for age and sex, immigrants were slightly more likely to receive screening for hyperlipidemia (APD 5.58%; 95% CI 4.18-6.96) and diabetes (5.49%; 3.76-7.23), have visits to family physicians (1.19%; 0.49-1.90), receive a prescription for antihypertensive (3.12%; 1.76-4.49) and antihyperglycemic medications (9.51%; 6.46-12.57), and achieve control of hyperlipidemia (3.82%; 1.01-6.63). By contrast, they were less likely to achieve diabetes control (-4.79%; -7.86 to -1.72) or have visits to a specialist (-1.68%; -3.12 to -0.24). There was minimal variation by region of origin or time since immigration in immigrants.

Discussion — Compared with long-term residents, many metrics of secondary stroke preventive care were better in immigrants, albeit with small absolute differences. However, future work is needed to identify and mitigate the factors associated with the suboptimal quality of stroke preventive care for all stroke survivors.



Vyas MV, Saposnik G, Yu AYX, Austin PC, Chu A, Alonzo R, Fang J, Lee C, Quraishi F, Marwaha S, Kapral MK. Neurology. 2024; 103(1):e209536. Epub 2024 Jun 11.

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