Improving PCP Awareness of Poststroke Care: Mitchell S.V. Elkind, MD, MS, MPhil


The president of the American Heart Association spoke on educating primary care physicians about poststroke care for adults, following the publication of new guidelines for care to foster long-term prevention.

“PCPs are also the ones we turn to when we have lifestyle issues. What kind of diet should we be eating? How can we get enough exercise? I think that they’re ideally positioned to help with a lot of those kinds of questions that are fundamental to people’s health, and not only to their risk of stroke, but also to their risk of cardiac disease [and] other vascular diseases.”

Mitchell S.V. Elkind, MD, MS, MPhil, President of the American Heart Association (AHA), chief, division of neurology clinical outcomes research and population sciences, Columbia University, spoke with NeurologyLive on the state of education for primary care physicians on poststroke care. Elkind discussed the unique expertise primary care physicians have, as they are apt at addressing issues like medication adherence and adjustment, as well as general lifestyle concerns such as diet and exercise. 

While they may be able to address certain issues poststroke, there are other conditions that may be less familiar, including frozen shoulder syndrome and other central pain syndromes, indicating the need to involve a neurologist. Educating primary care physicians on how to recognize those problems and syndromes, Elkind said, is an area that may offer particular benefit in poststroke care.

Elkind’s comments follow the development of new statement, entitled “Primary Care of Adult Patients After Stroke,” published recently by the AHA and the American Stroke Association. The guidelines provide the framework for goal-directed and patient-centered care for poststroke management in adults. 

Kernan WN, Viera AJ, Billinger SA, et al. Primary care of adult patients after stroke: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. Published online July 15, 2021. doi: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000382
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