Health problems in elderly patients during the first post-stroke year

Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine Section, Uppsala, Sweden.
Upsala journal of medical sciences (Impact Factor: 1.98). 05/2012; 117(3):318-27. DOI: 10.3109/03009734.2012.674572
Source: PubMed


A wide range of health problems has been reported in elderly post-stroke patients.
The aim of this study was to analyse the prevalence and timing of health problems identified by patient interviews and scrutiny of primary health care and municipality elderly health care records during the first post-stroke year.
A total of 390 consecutive patients, ≥65 years, discharged alive from hospital after a stroke event, were followed for 1 year post-admission. Information on the health care situation during the first post-stroke year was obtained from primary health care and municipal elderly health care records and through interviews with the stroke survivors, at 1 week after discharge, and 3 and 12 months after hospital admission.
More than 90% had some health problem at some time during the year, while based on patient record data only 4-8% had problems during a given week. The prevalence of interview-based health problems was generally higher than record-based prevalence, and the ranking order was moderately different. The most frequently interview-reported problems were associated with perception, activity, and tiredness, while the most common record-based findings indicated pain, bladder and bowel function, and breathing and circulation problems. There was co-occurrence between some problems, such as those relating to cognition, activity, and tiredness.
Almost all patients had a health problem during the year, but few occurred in a given week. Cognitive and communication problems were more common in interview data than record data. Co-occurrence may be used to identify subtle health problems.

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Available from: Kurt Svärdsudd, Aug 30, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The aim was to study if health outcome and secondary prevention were satisfactory 1 year after stroke and if nurse-led interventions 3 months after stroke could have impact. Design was a randomized controlled open trial in a 1-year population. Primary outcome was health status 1 year after stroke. One month after stroke, survivors were randomized into intervention group (IG) with follow-up by a specialist nurse (SN) after 3 months (n = 232), and control group (CG) with standard care (n = 227), all to be followed up 1 year after stroke. At the first follow-up, patients graded their health, replied to the EuroQol-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D) health outcome questions, health problems were assessed, and supportive counseling was provided in the IG. Health problems requiring medical interventions were primarily referred to a general practitioner (GP). One year after stroke, 391 survivors were followed up. Systolic blood pressure (BP) had decreased in IG (n = 194) from median 140 to 135 (P = .05), but about half were above the limit 139 in both groups. A larger proportion (22%) had systolic BP >155 in the CG (n = 197) than in the IG (14%; P = .05). In the IG, 62% needed referrals compared with the 75% in the CG (P = .009). Forty percent in the IG and 52.5% in the CG (P = .04) reported anxiety/depression. In the IG, 75% and 67% in the CG rated their general health as fairly good or very good (P = .05). Although nurse-led interventions could have some effect, the results were not optimal. A more powerful strategy could be closer collaboration between the SN and a stroke clinician, before referring to primary care.
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