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Women’s Interpretation of and Cognitive and Behavioral Responses to the Symptoms of Acute Ischemic Stroke

Beal, Claudia C.

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: October 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 5 - p 256–266
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000083
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ABSTRACT: Delay seeking medical assistance for acute ischemic stroke remains a barrier to the provision of optimal care, including the administration of tissue plasminogen activator. Although women report greater knowledge of stroke symptoms and stroke risk factors than men, earlier hospital arrival in women has not been consistently reported. The purposes of this study were to examine women’s interpretation of stroke symptoms and compare cognitive and behavioral responses between women who arrived at the hospital within 3 hours of symptom onset and women who arrived after 3 hours. More than half of the participants arrived at the hospital greater than 3 hours after first noticing symptoms. Most women did not recognize the cause of symptoms. Knowledge about a treatment of stroke was limited, and a minority of the women knew they were at risk for stroke despite having known risk factors. Maladaptive responses to symptoms were reported more frequently by women with hospital arrival greater than 3 hours after symptom onset than by women with earlier arrival. Efforts are needed to reduce maladaptive responses to stroke onset that may contribute to delay seeking medical assistance for the symptoms of acute ischemic stroke.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Claudia C. Beal, PhD RN, at Claudia_Beal@Baylor.edu. She is an Assistant Professor, Louise Herrington School of Nursing, Baylor University, Dallas, TX.

Funding for this study was provided by the Dean’s Research Grant, Louise Herrington School of Nursing, Baylor University, and the Employee and Faculty Affiliate Award, Baylor Health Care System.The author declares no conflict of interest.

© 2014 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses