swosn@lhsc.on.ca 519-685-8500 ext. 32462



Prevention focuses on the avoidance of the incidence of a transient ischemic attack or a stroke. There are three components to prevention: Health Promotion, Primary Prevention, and Secondary Prevention.

The Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network supports stroke prevention through collaboration with stakeholders, offering education opportunities, the development of resources and tools, and through Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinics.


  • Up to 80% of strokes are preventable
  • 90% of Canadians have at least one stroke risk factor
  • Most stroke risk factors are modifiable, or within your control
  • Atrial Fibrillation increases the risk of stroke by 5x
  • Smoking increases the risk of stroke by 4x
  • Your risk of stroke is greater if you or an immediate family member has had a stroke or TIA
  • People of Southeast Asian, Latin American, African-Canadian, or Aboriginal descent are at higher risk of stroke
  • The risk of stroke doubles every 10 years for those aged 55 and older
  • Stroke can occur at any age
Health Promotion is the process enabling a large number of people (a population) to increase control over and improve their health. It addresses the broad, underlying determinants of health as opposed to the manifestations of ill health. Public health departments frequently lead health promotion initiatives.

The Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network will collaborate with different public health partners on initiatives. The Ontario Stroke Network has developed health promotion resources and tools related to stroke.

Primary prevention is an individually based, clinical approach to disease prevention. It is directed toward prevention of the initial occurrence of a disorder in otherwise healthy individuals.

Primary prevention recommendations related to individual stroke risk factors emphasize the importance of screening and monitoring those patients at high risk of a first stroke event. It is usually implemented in the primary care setting with a family physician or nurse practitioner.

The Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network promotes primary prevention through physician education sessions and the development of tools and resources.

Secondary stroke prevention strives to reduce the risk of recurrent vascular events in individuals who have experienced a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) by addressing risk factors most relevant to stroke, including: lifestyle, hypertension, dyslipidemia, previous stroke or TIA, atrial fibrillation, sleep apnea, and carotid stenosis.

Secondary stroke prevention can be addressed by hospitals, secondary stroke prevention clinics, family physicians/nurse practitioner, and community-based care programs. Secondary prevention issues should be regularly addressed on an ongoing basis following a stroke or TIA.

The Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network supports secondary stroke prevention through:

  • Specialized, rapid-access, Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinics
  • Carotid revascularization surgery, available in two centres within the region
  • Creation of clinical resources and tools
  • Education sessions and workshops, including those targeting physicians

The Ontario Stroke Network promotes secondary stroke prevention through provincial stroke rounds and the development of tools to guide clinical practice.

Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinics (SSPCs) provide rapid access to specialized assessment, including diagnostics and risk-factor management, for those suspected of experiencing a transient ischemic attack or non-disabling stroke. Access to the SSPCs is by physician referral. There are 7 SSPCs in the region, one at each of the Designated Stroke Centres:

Carotid Endarterectomy or Carotid stenting is available by physician referral at LHSC- University Hospital in London at WRH-Oulette site in Windsor. Please contact the Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinics at these sites for more information.

A number of tools and resources have been developed to support clinical practice by a variety of sources, such as the Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network, the Ontario Stroke Network, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, as well as many others.

For more information about stroke prevention in the Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network Region, please contact:


Gwenyth Stevenson
Regional Prevention & Thames Valley Coordinator
519-685-8500 ext. 32214

Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network
LHSC-University Hospital
PDC D5-207
339 Windermere Road
London, Ontario  N6A 5A5