Spanish-Only Speakers Have Worse Neurologic Stroke Outcomes

Worse neurologic outcomes observed, but no difference seen in functional outcome or cognitive outcome compared with English speakers

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THURSDAY, April 13, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Spanish-only speaking Mexican Americans with ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage have worse neurologic outcomes than English speakers, according to a study published online April 12 in Neurology.

Alejandro Vargas, M.D., from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues examined whether language preference was associated with 90-day stroke outcomes among Mexican Americans using data from ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage patients from the population-based Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi project (2009 to 2018). Of 1,096 stroke patients, 926 and 170 were English speaking and Spanish-only speaking, respectively.

The researchers found that the Spanish-only speakers were older, received less education, had higher initial National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores, and had a higher prevalence of atrial fibrillation and lower prevalence of smoking. Compared with English speakers, Spanish-only speakers had worse neurologic outcomes in fully adjusted models (NIHSS: mean difference, 1.93), but no difference in functional outcome as measured based on activities of daily living/instrumental activities of daily living or in cognitive outcome.

"We conducted an earlier study in this same community finding that the language people spoke was not associated with any delay in their getting to the hospital or using emergency medical services after an ischemic stroke, so we definitely need more information to determine what is driving the differences in outcomes between these two groups," a coauthor said in a statement.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Elana Gotkine

Elana Gotkine

Medically reviewed by Meeta Shah, M.D.

Published on April 13, 2023

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