Background and Purpose: Rehospitalizations post-stroke can be considered to represent potential long-term complications of the incidental stroke and are most commonly caused by vascular events, infections, gastrointestinal and immobility related morbidity. The purpose of the study was to define the causes for rehospitalizations as well as their frequency, and to further explore the association between the incidental stroke, the burden of complications within 3 months, and rehospitalization for these long term complications.
Methods: A cohort of 244 patients, acutely and consecutively admitted to our stroke unit in 2002/3 with information regarding medical complications over the first 3 months was evaluated in regards to hospitalizations during the ensuing 10 years. 1 patient was lost to follow-up. The hospital records were reviewed, the main admitting diagnosis was verified and assigned to one of 18 predefined categories of illness.
Results: 177 of the 243 patients had 1 or more acute hospital readmissions to a total of 831 rehospitalizations. The median number of rehospitalizations was 2 (range 0-24). Proportions (%): ischemic stroke 5.4, hemorrhagic stroke 1.1, cardiac events 10.5, peripheral vascular events 3.0, chest infection 9.0, serious infection 4.1, UTI 4.2, falls with fractures 6.1, falls without fractures 3.2, epileptic seizures 2.9, stroke sequelae 3.4, hemorrhagic events 5.7, thrombotic events 1.2, renal insufficiency 2.0, TIA 2.2, cardiac angina 2.8, cancer 8.5, other 24.7.
Rehospitalizations occurred in 73 % of stroke patients and were attributable to vascular causes in 20.0 %, to infections in 17.3 %, to falls with and without fractures in 9.3 % and to peripheral hemorrhagic events in 5.7 % of admissions.
Conclusion: Rehospitalizations during 10 years following a stroke are common and have varying etiologies with vascular events and infections as the most frequent causes.