Background: Patients who are admitted to the hospital with a non-stroke diagnosis (NSD) may be at risk for an acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Identifying stroke symptoms for admitted patients with NSD in time for consideration of acute stroke intervention is challenging. Because ‘time is brain’, learning more about patients who may be at risk for AIS during the hospital stay could impact our ability to detect stroke early and improve the patient’s chance for consideration of acute stroke intervention.
Purpose: To identify the characteristic(s) of patients who may experience AIS during the hospital stay for NSD so that they may have an opportunity for timely consideration of acute stroke intervention.
Methods: The population consisted of patients admitted to the hospital for NSD who had a stroke team activation during the hospital stay (n=46). Records were reviewed over a six month period. These patients records were reviewed for common characteristics that may help predict the risk of AIS.
Results: Of these patient records, 46 stroke teams were activated for admitted patients with NSD, 23 (50%) had atrial fibrillation or a history of atrial fibrillation (AF) , and 14 (30%) had AIS during the hospital stay . Comparing the two groups, 13 patients experienced AIS during the hospital stay in the clinical setting of AF (28%).
Conclusions: Patients admitted with NSD who also have AF may be at increased risk of AIS during the hospital stay. Consideration should be given for these patients to have serial neurological exams from the time of admission in order to detect stroke symptoms to improve their chance at consideration for acute stroke intervention.