Peer Reviewed


AHA/ASA Release New Scientific Statement on Primary Care After Stroke

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA) have released new guidelines on poststroke management of adults in the primary care setting.

This statement was created in effort to summarize existing literature with a focus on 5 widely accepted goals; provide patient-centered care, prevent recurrent brain injury, maximize function, prevent late complications, and optimize quality of life.

Among the recommendations to achieve these goals:

  • The first poststroke primary care visit should be within 1 to 3 weeks following discharge from the rehabilitation facility or hospital, and should include updating the patient’s history, engaging the patient’s family members, screening for potential complications and risk factors, and addressing common unmet needs following stroke.
  • Practitioners should determine the cause of the stroke through the use of carotid imaging and cardiac rhythm monitoring, and utilize the list of class 1 treatment recommendations, such as carotid revascularization for carotid stenosis or statin therapy, to prevent recurrent stroke.
  • Screening, rehabilitation, and referral should be utilized where necessary for improving motor function, cognition, speech, and emotion, among other aspects.
  • Practitioners should continuously look to improve patients’ quality of life by upgrading aspects of care where needed, such as managing high blood pressure.


“Stroke is a complex disease with many causes, consequences, and treatments. All patients with stroke need high-quality primary care to manage new needs, prevent recurrence, remediate complications, optimize quality of life, and facilitate prompt access to specialists as needed,” the statement concluded.


—Leigh Precopio



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