Life after Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
Abstract: Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a devastating disease with mean age of 59 years. SAH accounts for 5% of all stroke and more than one quarter of potential life years lost through stroke. With the advanced neurosurgical methods of today two thirds of the patients survive. We know, however, that various cognitive, psychiatric and physical impairments are common that affect quality of life, social life, and the ability to work in the aftermath of SAH. The overall aim constituting this PhD dissertation is to better understand some of the challenges often faced by those surviving SAH.Two SAH patient cohorts have been studied. The first followed 96 consecutively included patients during the first year after ictus. Spasticity and cognitive impairment was assessed after 6 months and the Swedish stroke register follow-up form was used to investigate family support and the use of medical and social services. Return to work was assessed at 12 months. The second cohort assessed attention deficits using the test of variables of attention (T.O.V.A.) at 7 months after ictus in 19 patients with moderate to good recovery.Spasticity was just as common in our SAH patients as after other stroke, though it was rarely treated pharmacologically. By assessing cognitive impairment at 6 months after ictus using the Montreal cognitive assessment, 68% of the patients could be correctly predicted as having returned/not returned to work at 12 months. Seventeen percent of the patients had not had a follow-up appointment 6 months after ictus. These patients were older, more often living alone, had a lower quality of life, more depressive symptoms and more cognitive impairment compared to those having had a follow-up appointment. Twenty percent had had a follow-up in primary care. Seventy-eight percent of those with moderate to severe disability were living in their own accommodations. Fifty-eight percent of the patients had attention deficits. Challenges after SAH were common and often dealt with in the home environment of the patients.The results of this thesis highlight the importance of assisting the patients and their relatives in their struggle back to life after SAH.
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