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Early Stroke Complications Rob Patients of Healthy Years

Loss of healthy life from complications adds to toll of ischemic stroke

THURSDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- Early complications following ischemic stroke cost patients about two years' worth of optimal health, in addition to the loss of optimal health due to the stroke itself, and a higher number of complications is linked to a larger loss of healthy life-years, according to research published online July 1 in Stroke.

Keun-Sik Hong, M.D., of Inje University in Goyang, Korea, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,233 patients with acute ischemic stroke. Using three-month outcomes measured with the modified Rankin Scale of global disability, they calculated disability-adjusted life-years (DALY) lost due to the stroke, and assessed additional DALY lost from complications following the stroke.

The researchers found that the average DALY lost to the stroke was 3.82. Complications occurred in 34 percent of patients; neurological and medical complications occurred in 20.8 and 24 percent of patients, respectively. Having any complication was associated with an additional 2.11 DALY lost. Patients with neurological and medical complications had an additional DALY loss of 2.15 and 1.99, respectively. Patients with just one complication had an additional DALY loss of 1.52, but those with at least two complications lost 2.69 DALY.

"In conclusion, early post-stroke complications deprive a patient of an average two years of optimum health free of disability. Experiencing a greater number of complications is associated with losing more years of optimum health. DALY analysis quantifies the burden of post-stroke complications with an intuitively accessible, directly comparable, and widely used metric. These findings can guide public policy decision makers in resource allocation regarding organized stroke care to prevent complications of stroke," the authors conclude.

Several co-authors disclosed relationships with a number of pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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