Background and purpose: Atherosclerotic ischemic stroke is the second most frequent etiology of stroke in the adult population. Functional outcome, mortality and recurrence of stroke rates on the long-term follow-up are poorly studied. This study investigates long-term outcome among patients with ischemic stroke secondary to atherosclerotic causality, and identifies the main factors associated with poor outcome, recurrence, and death.
Methods: We analyzed data from our consecutive acute ischemic stroke database, over a period of 25 years (1990-2015). The endpoints were: bad outcome (Modified Rankin Score ≥3), recurrence and mortality at discharge, and final follow-up. Multivariate Cox and Kaplan-Meier analysis were used to estimate the probability of death and recurrence.
Results: A total of 946 consecutive atherosclerotic stroke patients were included (571 [60.4%] males, median age 65 years [interquartile range 57-73 years] for the entire population); dyslipidemia (64.2%), hypertension (63.3%), diabetes (35.0%), and active smoking history (31.8%) were the most prevalent risk factors.After a median follow-up of 38 months (IQR 12-75 months), 59.3% patients had a bad outcome at discharge. A result of 26.1% had stroke recurrence (median time until recurrence: 9 months [IQR 12-84 months], with 12.9% cases presenting ≥2 recurrences), and 24.1% were dead (median time to death: 18.5 months [IQR 11-74 months]) at the final follow-up period. After multivariate adjustment, hypertension (HR 4.2, CI 95% 2.8-6.1; p<0.001) was the strongest predictor of recurrence. Additionally, diabetes (HR 2.6, CI 95% 2.0-3.5; p<0.001), bad functional outcome after recurrence (HR 2.3, CI 95% 1.9-2.9; p<0.001), age ≥65 years (HR 2.2, CI 95% 1.7-2.9; p<0.001), and active smoking (HR 1.8, CI 95% 1.3-2.3; p<0.001) were the strongest predictors of mortality.
Conclusions: Atherosclerotic ischemic stroke has a high rate of recurrence, associated mainly with hypertension. Mortality is predicted by diabetes, bad functional outcome at recurrence, and older age.