Medical and Neurological Complications During Inpatient Stroke Rehabilitation

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Background and Purpose

We sought to assess the type, frequency, and clinical predictors of neuromedical complications occurring during inpatient rehabilitation after stroke.


One hundred consecutive patient records were reviewed. All medical and neurological complications requiring a physician's order for further evaluation or treatment were recorded.


Complications were urinary tract infection (44 cases), depression (33), musculoskeletal pain (31), urinary retention (25), falls (25), fungal dermatitis (24), hypotension (19), diabetes mellitus (16), hypertension (15), and other neuromedical problem (194). The mean$$SD numbers of medical and neurological complications per patient were 3.6 $$ and 0.6$$0.8, respectively. Complications were independently related to both the severity of functional disability as judged by Barthel score (r=-A2, P<.001) and length of rehabilitation hospital stay (r=.54, p<.001). Cardiac complications were predicted by New York Heart Association class 3 or 4 symptomatology on admission (P<.05). The age, sex, interval from stroke to rehabilitation hospital admission, and ischemic versus hemorrhagic etiology of the stroke were unrelated to the number of complications observed. Thirteen patients required transfer back to an acute-care hospital, one of whom died within 24 hours of transfer. There were no deaths on the rehabilitation unit.


We have denned the type and frequency of neuromedical complications during inpatient rehabilitation after stroke. Their frequency varies with the severity of stroke, cardiovascular comorbidity, and length of stay. (Stroke. 1994;25:358-361.)

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