A systematic review and synthesis of global stroke guidelines for the World Stroke Organisation

Gillian Mead, Luciano A. Sposato, Gisele Sampaio Silva, Laetitia Yperzeele, Simiao Wu, Mansur A Kutlubaev, Joshua Cheyne, Kolawole Wahab, Victor C Urrutia, Vijay K. Sharma, P N Sylaja, Kelvin Hill, Thorsten Steiner, David S. Liebeskind, Alejandro A. Rabinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are multiple stroke guidelines globally. To synthesize these and summarize what existing stroke guidelines recommend about the management of people with stroke, the World Stroke Organisation (WSO) Guideline committee, under the auspices of the WSO, reviewed available guidelines. They identified areas of strong agreement across guidelines, and their global coverage.
To systematically review the literature to identify stroke guidelines (excluding primary stroke prevention and subarachnoid haemorrhage) since 1st January 2011, evaluate quality (AGREE II), tabulate strong recommendations, and judge applicability according to stroke care available (minimal, essential, advanced).
Summary of review
Searches identified 15400 titles, 911 texts were retrieved, 203 publications scrutinized by the three subgroups (acute, secondary prevention, rehabilitation), and recommendations extracted from most recent version of relevant guidelines. For acute treatment, there were more guidelines about ischaemic stroke than intracerebral haemorrhage; recommendations addressed pre-hospital, emergency, and acute hospital care. Strong recommendations were made for reperfusion therapies for acute ischaemic stroke. For secondary prevention, strong recommendations included establishing aetiological diagnosis, management of hypertension, weight, diabetes, lipids, lifestyle modification; and for ischaemic stroke: management of atrial fibrillation, valvular heart disease, left ventricular and atrial thrombi, patent foramen ovale, atherosclerotic extracranial large vessel disease, intracranial atherosclerotic disease, antithrombotics in non-cardioembolic stroke. For rehabilitation there were strong recommendations for organized stroke unit care, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, task specific training, fitness training, and specific interventions for post-stroke impairments.
Most recommendations were from high income countries, and most did not consider comorbidity, resource implications and implementation. Patient and public involvement was limited.
The review identified a number of areas of stroke care in there was strong consensus. However there was extensive repetition and redundancy in guideline recommendations. Future guidelines groups should consider closer collaboration to improve efficiency, include more people with lived experience in the development process, consider comorbidity, and advise on implementation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Stroke
Early online date1 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Feb 2023


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