Introduction Over the last decade there has been increasing input from neurologists into the management of stroke, however most neurologists are not dually accredited in neurology and internal medicine. This study looks at the difference in the general medical care required in neurology and stroke units and the different skill set required.
Methods Prospective data regarding diagnosis and medical complications were collected from 100 patients admitted to a neurology and a stroke ward.
Results Stroke unit patients were older (mean age 71.4 yrs; standard deviation 16.3) than those on the neurology ward (47.9;16.8, p=<0.001). The primary diagnosis was neurological in all patients on the neurology ward, but 16% of those on the stroke ward had not had a recent stroke. Attention to general medical issues was required in 54% of patients on the stroke ward compared to 18% on the neurology ward, most commonly infection (35%), unstable diabetes (20%) and atrial fibrillation (18%).
Discussion Patients on stroke wards are older and have more co-morbidities than patients on a neurology ward, and the skill set required to care for them is different. As neurologists take an increasing role in stroke medicine any future developments in the Neurology curriculum should reflect these needs.