Abstract WP173: Mexican Americans Less Likely to Return to Work Following Stroke

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Introduction: Lost earnings are the largest driver of the projected $2.2 trillion in stroke costs over the next 4 decades. Mexican Americans (MA) are more likely to have a working age stroke and suffer greater post-stroke disability than non-Hispanic whites (NHW). Thus, we explored ethnic differences in post-stroke return to work and whether sociodemographics and stroke severity contribute to ethnic differences.

Methods: Ischemic stroke patients were identified from the population-based Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi (BASIC) study from August 2011-December 2013. Employment status was obtained at baseline and 90-day interviews conducted with patients or proxies. Sequential logistic regression models were built to assess ethnic difference in return to work after accounting for: 1) age (<65 vs ≥65), sex; 2) 90-day NIH stroke score, and 3) education (

Results: Of the 729 MA and NHW stroke survivors who completed the baseline interview, 197 (27%) were working at the time of their stroke of which 125 completed the 90-day outcome interview. There were no ethnic differences in sex or the proportion over the age of 65. MAs had less education (5% vs. 24% college graduate, p<0.01) and greater median 90-day stroke severity (2 vs. 1, p=0.02) than NHWs. Forty-nine (40%) stroke survivors returned to work. MAs were less likely to return to work (OR= 0.45, 95% CI 0.22-0.94) than NHWs. This difference remained after accounting for age and sex (OR=0.45, 95% CI 0.21-0.94). The ethnic difference was attenuated and became non-significant after adjusting for stroke severity (0.59, 95%CI 0.24-1.24) and further attenuated after accounting for education (0.85, 95% CI 0.32, 2.22). In the fully adjusted model, lower stroke severity and higher education were associated with return to work.

Conclusion: MAs are less likely to return to work after stroke than NHWs. This finding is important given that MAs are younger and poorer at the time of their stroke suggesting a crucial public health problem. Future work should consider including return to work as part of patient centered outcomes and efforts to optimize stroke recovery.

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