Introduction: Patients with stroke often experience pneumonia during the acute stage after stroke onset. Oral care may be effective in reducing the risk of stroke-associated pneumonia (SAP). We aimed to determine the changes in oral care, as well as the incidence of SAP, in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage, following implementation of a learning health system in our hospital. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the data of 1716 patients with intracerebral hemorrhage who were hospitalized at a single stroke center in Japan between January 2012 and December 2018. Data were stratified on the basis of three periods of evolving oral care: period A, during which conventional, empirically driven oral care was provided (n = 725); period B, during which standardized oral care was introduced, with SAP prophylaxis based on known risk factors (n = 469); and period C, during which oral care was risk-appropriate based on learning health system data (n = 522). Logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate associations between each of the three treatment approaches and the risk of SAP. Results: Among the included patients, the mean age was 71.3 ± 13.6 years; 52.6% of patients were men. During the course of each period, the frequency of oral care within 24 hours of admission increased (P <.001), as did the adherence rate to oral care ≥3 times per day (P <.001). After adjustment for confounding factors, a change in the risk of SAP was not observed in period B; however, the risk significantly decreased in period C (odds ratio 0.61; 95% confidence interval 0.43-0.87) compared with period A. These associations were maintained for SAP diagnosed using strict clinical criteria or after exclusion of 174 patients who underwent neurosurgical treatment. Conclusions: Risk-appropriate care informed by the use of learning health system data could improve care and potentially reduce the risk of SAP in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage in the acute stage.
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