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Background: Stroke is an Australian health priority area causing considerable levels of disability. We report 90‐day outcomes for a cohort of acute stroke patients in New South Wales (NSW), Australia prior to randomization to a large cluster randomized controlled trial (CRCT), the Quality in Acute Stroke Care (QASC) trial.

Aims: This paper describes prospectively collected, 90‐day outcome data for a cohort of NSW stroke patients, providing pre‐intervention data for the QASC trial.

Methods: A consecutive sample of patients from acute stroke units in NSW was recruited. We measured patient death, disability (modified Rankin Score (mRS)), dependency (Barthel Index (BI)) and Health Status (Medical Outcomes Short‐Form Health Survey (SF‐36)) 90 days post‐hospital admission. We also collected self‐reported healthcare utilization and patient satisfaction with health professionals' advice and management to reduce risk of subsequent stroke.

Results: Ninety‐day outcome data were obtained for 687 patients, of which, 335 (49%) had an mRS ≥2; 44 patients (6.4%) had died. For the 643 surviving patients, the mean BI was 87.2 (SD 21.9) and the mean scores for SF‐36 Physical Component Summary score and Mental Component Summary score were 46.2 (SD 10.1) and 46.3 (SD 12.6) respectively.

Conclusions: In this pre‐intervention cohort of selected acute stroke inpatients, stroke severity was mild to moderate and subsequent clinical outcomes were favourable in the majority. The findings from this study provide a comprehensive description of 90‐day health outcomes of patients who have experienced a mild–moderate stroke managed in stroke care units across metropolitan NSW and provide valuable data to inform the subsequent cluster trial.

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