Health inequalities and stroke rapid literature review
We have been involved in a locally led literature review that was commissioned by the Stroke Association to understand more about the current evidence around health inequalities and stroke. You can download the review here.
Health inequalities are unfair differences in health between different groups in society. The Manchester team conducted a rapid review of the research literature of health inequalities and stroke as a first step to finding out what research exists on health inequalities across the stroke pathway, and collated these studies.
The review highlights the type of research evidence that exists as well as obvious gaps, that could inform research commissioning; concluding that most studies explored socio-economic status or ethnicity rather than other lenses of inequalities, resulting in sparse evidence for vulnerable groups and urban/rural geographical differences.
It is commendable that research on inequalities and stroke exists across a broad range of topics, although notably there are fewer than ten studies on each of: thrombectomy and thrombolysis, secondary prevention, access to services, care processes, functional outcomes, quality of life, atrial fibrillation and carers.
Consultation with people with lived experience elicited their concern about the absence of studies exploring their priorities e.g. prevention, awareness raising, psychological support, return to work, carers; consistent with the James Lind Alliance.
There is clear interest in health inequalities from the stroke research community which could be harnessed to improve access to services and outcomes, beginning with sharing and critical appraisal of the findings from studies identified in this review.