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ABSTRACT To evaluate the baseline National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score as a predictor of functional outcome after ischemic stroke.
A cross-sectional study.
The study was carried out between September 2001 and May 2002 at the Department of Medicine, Civil Hospital, Karachi.
The study included 50 patients who presented to Civil Hospital, Karachi, during the study period with acute stroke and were evaluated with CT scan of brain. Only those patients were enrolled in the study that had acute ischemic stroke. The enrolled subjects were then evaluated for the neurological impairment using National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS). The subjects were followed-up and their functional outcome was assessed using Barthel index (BI) on the 7th day of their admission.
Of the fifty patients enrolled in the study, 31(62%) were males and 19 (38%) were females, with age ranging from 45 years to 95 years and a mean age of 59.9 years. Neurological impairment at presentation was assessed by NIHSS. The score ranged between 2 and 28. The functional outcome was evaluated on the 7th day using Barthel index (BI), which ranged from 0 to 80. NIHSS score was found to be a good predictor of functional outcome in patients with ischemic stroke (p<0.001). Other factors like gender, hypertension and heart disease did not affect the functional recovery in such patients. Various factors were found to be significant for early prediction of stroke recovery. The NIHSS score was the strongest predictor of outcome after ischemic stroke. Age at the time of the event was also found to be an important predictor for stroke recovery.
The NIHSS score is a good predictor of patient' recovery after stroke. Assessing the patient's neurological impairment at first presentation of ischemic stroke can guide the physician regarding the prognosis and management plan.