Title. Physiological monitoring in acute stroke: a literature review
Aim. This paper is a report of a review of the literature that considers how physiological parameters may affect outcome after stroke and the implications of this evidence for monitoring.
Background. Throughout the world, the incidence of first-ever stroke is approximately 200 per 100,000 people per year [Sudlow et al. (1997)Stroke28, 491]. Stroke is the third most common cause of mortality [Sarti et al. (2000) Stroke31, 1588] and causes 5·54 million deaths worldwide [Murray & Lopez (1997) Lancet349, 268]. Physiological monitoring is considered a fundamental component of acute stroke care. Currently, the strength of evidence to support its use and identify its components is unclear. Nurse-led physiological assessment and subsequent interventions in acute stroke may have the potential to improve survival and reduce disability.
Data sources. Online bibliographic databases from 1966 to 2007, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED, Cochrane and ZETOC, were searched systematically. We identified 475 published papers relating to blood pressure, oxygen saturation and positioning, blood glucose and body temperature.
Review methods. Titles and abstracts were reviewed independently by two reviewers and 61 relevant studies were read in full. The quality of included studies was assessed and proformas were used to record detailed data. A narrative synthesis described how the evidence from the papers could inform our understanding of physiological parameters and their association with outcome.
Results. Current evidence suggests that patient outcome is worse when physiological parameters deviate from ‘normal’ in the acute phase of stroke.
Conclusions. The evidence supports the need for monitoring and recording of blood pressure, oxygen saturation (including consideration of positioning), blood glucose and body temperature in the acute phase of stroke. This review has reinforced the importance of monitoring physiological parameters in the acute phase of stroke and adds support to the recommendation that monitoring should play a key role within nursing care.