Objective: To determine if the use of neurostimulant medications enables more patients with acute ischemic stroke to qualify for inpatient rehabilitation at hospital discharge.
Methods: Seventy-eight patients with ischemic stroke, admitted between 2011 and 2014 to an academic tertiary care stroke center, received neurostimulants during their admission and were retrospectively reviewed. A group of 78 controls from our institution’s stroke registry was matched 1:1 by sex, NIHSS, and age. The proportion of patients who were initially not candidates for an inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) but who subsequently became eligible, either after receiving neurostimulants or with standard care, was then compared between the two groups.
Results: There were 78 patients treated with neurostimulants, 46 of whom did not initially qualify for IRF; of these, 39.1% subsequently converted and qualified for IRF after initiating a neurostimulant medication. In comparison, only 12.5% of patients in the matched cohort converted after initially not qualifying for IRF (Fisher exact test, p=0.028). Mean time to initiation of neurostimulant was 5.5 days in patients who successfully converted to IRF status, compared to 7.3 days in those who did not (Student’s t-test, p=0.16).
Conclusions: In patients with acute ischemic stroke, early administration of neurostimulants may enable more to qualify for inpatient rehabilitation at hospital discharge.