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Background: Late presentation to hospital after onset of stroke affects management and outcomes of the patients. This study aimed to determine the factors associated with time taken to present to hospital after the onset of acute stroke symptoms.
Methods: A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted at two teaching hospitals in Zimbabwe. Participants included patients admitted with stroke and their relatives. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on history of stroke occurrence and time taken to present to hospital. Data was analysed for means, frequencies, percentages and Odds ratios.
Results: Less than half (33%) of the participants were able to recognize symptoms of stroke. Not having money to pay for hospital bills was a predictor of late hospital presentation (OR =6.64; 95% CI, (2.05-21.53); p=0.002). The other factors, though not statistically significant included not perceiving stroke as a serious illness (OR = 2.43; 95% CI (0.78-5.51); p=0.083) and unavailability of transport (OR=2.33; 95% CI (0.71-7.56); p=0.161). Predictors for early presentation included receiving knowledge about stroke from the community (OR=0.46; 95% CI (0.15-1.39); p=0.170); seeking help at the hospital (OR=0.50; 95% CI (0.18-1.37); p=0.177) and having a stroke while at the workplace (OR =0.46; 95% CI (0.08-2.72); p=0.389).
Conclusions: Regarding stroke as an emergency that does not require prerequisite payment for services at hospitals and improved community awareness on stroke may improve time taken to present to hospital after the onset of stroke symptoms.