Complications in the first week after stroke: a 10-year comparison
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Neurology 2016, 16 10.1186/s12883-016-0654-8
Background: Complications after stroke have been associated with poor outcome. Modern stroke treatment might reduce the occurrence of complications. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the frequency and type of complications during the first week after stroke has changed in patients treated in a stroke unit in 2013 compared to 2003. Methods: In total 489 patients in 2003 and 185 patients in 2013 with acute stroke were included and followed prospectively for 1 week, examining the frequency of 12 predefined complications adjusted for severity of stroke. Informed consent was given by all patients or their next of kin. Results: Mean (SD) age was 77.2 (10.2) and 76.9 (8.5) in 2003 and 2013 respectively, P = 0.455. Severity of stroke, measured by the Scandinavian Stroke Scale, was 39.5 (16.8) versus 37.0 (16.4), P = 0.011. After adjustment for stroke severity the results showed an odds ratio of 0.64 for experiencing one or more complications in the 2013 cohort versus the 2003 cohort, P = 0.035. The subgroup analysis showed that the reduction was only significant in the group with moderate stroke, with 74 % experiencing one or more complications in 2003 compared to 45 % in 2013, P < 0.001. Progressing stroke and myocardial infarction occurred significantly less frequent in 2013 than in 2003; the frequency of other complications remained unchanged. Conclusions: The risk of experiencing one or more complications has decreased from 2003 to 2013. The reduction was most pronounced in patents with moderate stroke with a significant reduction in progressing stroke and myocardial infarction.