Multi-level community interventions for primary stroke prevention: A conceptual approach by the World Stroke Organization

Michael Brainin, Valery Feigin, Philip M. Bath, Epifania Collantes, Sheila Martins, Jeyaraj Pandian, Ralph Sacco, Yvonne Teuschl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The increasing burden of stroke and dementia emphasizes the need for new, well-tolerated and cost-effective primary prevention strategies that can reduce the risks of stroke and dementia worldwide, and specifically in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This paper outlines conceptual frameworks of three primary stroke prevention strategies: (a) the “polypill” strategy; (b) a “population-wide” strategy; and (c) a “motivational population-wide” strategy. (a) A polypill containing generic low-dose ingredients of blood pressure and lipid-lowering medications (e.g. candesartan 16 mg, amlodipine 2.5 mg, and rosuvastatin 10 mg) seems a safe and cost-effective approach for primary prevention of stroke and dementia. (b) A population-wide strategy reducing cardiovascular risk factors in the whole population, regardless of the level of risk is the most effective primary prevention strategy. A motivational population-wide strategy for the modification of health behaviors (e.g. smoking, diet, physical activity) should be based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. Mobile technologies, such as smartphones, offer an ideal interface for behavioral interventions (e.g. Stroke Riskometer app) even in LMICs. (c) Community health workers can improve the maintenance of lifestyle changes as well as the adherence to medication, especially in resource poor areas. An adequate training of community health workers is a key point. Conclusion: An effective primary stroke prevention strategy on a global scale should integrate pharmacological (polypill) and lifestyle modifications (motivational population-wide strategy) interventions. Side effects of such an integrative approach are expected to be minimal and the benefits among individuals at low-to-moderate risk of stroke could be significant. In the future, pragmatic field trials will provide more evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-825
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Stroke
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Polypill
  • fixed-dose combination
  • primary prevention
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Multi-level community interventions for primary stroke prevention: A conceptual approach by the World Stroke Organization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this