Article

National Institutes of Health stroke scale assists in predicting the need for percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube placement in acute ischemic stroke.

Neurological Institute, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-5040, USA.
Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases: the official journal of National Stroke Association (Impact Factor: 1.99). 09/2010; 19(5):347-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2009.07.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes are commonly needed for early nutrition in patients with acute ischemic stroke. We evaluated the relationship between the NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score and the need for PEG tube placement. Patients with acute ischemic stroke were included in this study. We collected information on patient demographics, stroke severity as indicated by the NIHSS, and risk factors for vascular disease. We ascertained the swallowing evaluation and PEG tube placement during the same hospitalization. A hierarchical optimal classification tree was determined for the best predictors. A total of 187 patients (mean age, 67.2 years) were included, only 33 (17.6%) of whom had a PEG tube placed during the course of hospitalization. Those who had the PEG were slightly older (73.8 vs 65.8 years), had severe stroke (median NIHSS score, 18 vs 4), and a longer hospital stay (median 12 vs 4 days). Independent predictors for PEG placement included bulbar symptoms at onset, higher NIHSS score, stroke in the middle cerebral artery distribution, and aspiration pneumonia. Hierarchical analysis showed that patients with aspiration pneumonia and NIHSS score >or=12 had the highest likelihood (relative risk [RR] = 4.67; P < .0001) of requiring a PEG tube. In the absence of pneumonia, NIHSS score >or=16 yielded a moderate likelihood of requiring PEG (RR = 1.80; P < .0001). Our findings indicate that the presence of pneumonia and high NIHSS score are the best predictors for requiring PEG tube insertion in patients with ischemic stroke. These findings may have benefits in terms of early decision making, shorter hospitalization, and possible cost savings.

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