Long-term effects of stroke

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå universitet

Abstract: Stroke, which has an increasing incidence with age, causes an irreversible brain damage which may lead to impairment, disability and decreased life satisfaction or death.Risk factors for death, recurrent stroke and myocardial infarction, were analyzed in 409 stroke patients treated at the Stroke Unit, Department of Medicine, Umeå University Hospital, between Jan. 1, 1978 and Dec. 31, 1982. The causes of death were related with the time of survival. In fully co-operable (n=62) 4-6 year stroke survivors, the occurrence of motor and perceptual impairments, of self-care (ADL) disability and of self-reported decreased life satisfaction due to stroke was determined.The probability of survival was 77% three months after stroke, 69% after one year, and 37% after five years. Multivariate statistical analysis indicated that impairment of consciousness was the most important risk factor for death followed by age, previous cardiac failure, diabetes mellitus, intracerebral hemorrhage and male sex. During the first week, cerebrovascular disease (90%) was the most dominant primary cause of death, from the second to the fourth week pulmonary embolism (30%), bronchopneumonia during the second and third months and cardiac disease (37%) later than three months after stroke. The risk of recurrence was 14% during the first year after stroke and the accumulated risk of stroke recurrence after 5 years was 37% after stroke. The estimated probability of myocardial infarction was 7% at one year and 19% at 5 years. High age and a history of cardiac failure increased the risk of recurrent stroke. The risk of myocardial infarction was associated with high age, angina pectoris and diabetes mellitus. The highest risk of epilepsy was found between 6 and 12 months after stroke. Motor impairment prevailed in 36% of the long-term survivors, perceptual impairments in up to 57% and decreased ADL-capacity in 32%. As regards ecological perception, perceptual function variables were distinctly grouped into low and high level perception which together with motor function explained 71% of the variance of self-care ADL. While levels of global and of domain specific variables of life satisfaction appeared stable in clinically healthy reference populations aged 60 and 80 years, the stroke had produced a decrease in one or more aspects of life satisfaction for 61% of the long-term survivors. Although significantly associated with motor impairments and ADL disability, these changes could not only be attributed to physical problems.