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Background: Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. There is a paucity of data from South Asia where stroke is highly prevalent. Validated tools administrable by Community Health Workers (CHWs) are required to identify stroke in the community in a resource strapped region such as this.

Methods: The study was conducted in a transitional slum in Karachi, Pakistan. Questionnaire for Verifying Stroke-Free Status (QVSFS) was adapted and translated into Urdu. Two CHWs, trained by a neurologist, selected 322 community dwelling subjects using purposive sampling. Each CHW collected data independently which was validated by a vascular neurologist who directly examined each participant. To assess the effect of audit and feedback, data from the final 10% of the subjects was collected following a second training session for the CHWs. Sensitivity, specificity and Cohen’s kappa was determined for the CHW administered questionnaire against neurovascular assessment.

Results: Mean age of participants was 56.5 years with 71% of participants being women. The sensitivity and specificity of the questionnaire of detecting stroke was 77.1% (CI: 64.1%–86.9%) and 85.8% (CI: 83.5%–87.5%). The chance corrected agreement using the Cohen’s Kappa statistic was 0.51 (CI: 0.38–0.60). Kappa ranged from 0.37 to 0.58 for each of the seven stroke symptoms. Hemianesthesia (72.9%) and hemiplegia (64.6%) were the most sensitive symptoms. The performance and agreement improved from moderate to substantial after audit and feedback.

Conclusion: We found a reasonable sensitivity and specificity and moderate agreement between CHW administered QVSFS and assessment by a vascular neurologist.


Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases : the official journal of National Stroke Association.