Comparison of Clinical Characteristics and Functional Outcomes of Ischemic Stroke in Different Vascular Territories

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Background and Purpose—We aim to compare demographics and functional outcomes of patients with stroke in a variety of vascular territories who underwent inpatient rehabilitation. Such comparative data are important in functional prognostication, rehabilitation, and healthcare planning, but literature is scarce and isolated.Methods—Using data collected prospectively over a 9-year period, we studied 2213 individuals who sustained first-ever ischemic strokes and were admitted to an inpatient stroke rehabilitation program. Strokes were divided into anterior cerebral artery, middle cerebral artery (MCA), posterior cerebral artery, brain stem, cerebellar, small-vessel strokes, and strokes occurring in more than one vascular territory. The main functional outcome measure was the Functional Independence Measure (FIM). Repeated-measures analysis of covariance with post hoc analyses was used to compare functional outcomes of the stroke groups.Results—The most common stroke groups were MCA stroke (50.8%) and small-vessel stroke (12.8%). After adjustments for age, gender, risk factors, and admission year, the stroke groups can be arranged from most to least severe disability on admission: strokes in more than one vascular territory, MCA, anterior cerebral artery, posterior cerebral artery, brain stem, cerebellar, and small-vessel strokes. The sequence was similar on discharge, except cerebellar strokes had the least disability rather than small-vessel strokes. Hemispheric (more than one vascular territory, MCA, anterior cerebral artery, posterior cerebral artery) strokes collectively have significantly lower admission and discharge total and cognitive FIM scores compared with the other stroke groups. MCA stroke had the lowest FIM efficiency and cerebellar stroke the highest. Regardless, patients with stroke made significant (P<0.001) and approximately equal (P=0.535) functional gains in all groups. Higher admission motor and cognitive FIM scores, longer rehabilitation stay, younger patients, lower number of medical complications, and a year of admission after 2000 were associated with higher discharge total FIM scores on multiple regression analysis.Conclusions—Patients with stroke made significant functional gains and should be offered rehabilitation regardless of stroke vascular territory. The initial functional status at admission, rather than the stroke subgroup, better predicts discharge functional outcomes postrehabilitation.

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