Comprehensive studies of the incidence of neuroendocrine dysfunction following stroke are lacking. The objectives of this study were to determine the incidence of neuroendocrine dysfunction in patients with stroke and to determine if growth hormone deficiency (GHD) contributes to disability following stroke.
Hormones were assessed in 130 patients with stroke (ischemic: n=65; hemorrhagic: n=65; M time since stroke=155 days; men=81; M age = 52). TSH, T3, T4, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol, testosterone, cortisol, and insulin-like growth factor-1 were assessed. All patients underwent glucagon stimulation testing (GST) to assess growth hormone (GH). Patients were then classified as having severe GHD, moderate GHD or normal GH based on the results of the GST. Functional disability was assessed with the Disability Rating Scale, Independent Living Scale (ILS), and the Mayo-Portland Adaptability Inventory-IV.
The majority of stroke patients had GHD (30% severe; 29% moderate). Patients with ischemic stroke had a higher prevalence of GHD (34% severe; 33% moderate) compared to patients with hemorrhagic stroke (26% severe; 23% moderate). The severe GHD group had significantly lower levels of FSH than the moderate GHD and normal GH groups (p<0.01). The moderate GHD group had significantly lower levels of LH than the severe GHD and normal GH groups (p<0.05) and significantly lower levels of T3 than the severe GHD and normal GH groups (p<0.05). The severe GHD group performed worse on the Activities of Daily Living and Behavior subscales of the ILS than the moderate GHD and normal GH groups (p<0.05).
GHD was more prevalent in patients with ischemic stroke, indicating that type of stroke may influence neuroendocrine functioning. Additionally, FSH, LH and T3 were lower in patients with GHD than in patients with normal levels of GH. The implications of these findings suggest that routine, comprehensive neuroendocrine testing may be warranted in individuals who have sustained a stroke. Patients with GHD were more functionally disabled in their ability to perform activities of daily living and to engage in socially appropriate behavior. These findings suggest that hormone deficiencies can influence disability post-stroke.