Prognosis of young adults with ischemic stroke. A long-term follow-up study assessing recurrent vascular events and functional outcome in the Iowa Registry of Stroke in Young Adults.
Information about the long-term prognosis of young adults with ischemic stroke is limited. Therefore, we performed a follow-up assessment of 296 patients with ischemic stroke who are enrolled in the Iowa Registry of Stroke in Young Adults. We studied young adults (age, 15 to 45 years) who were referred to a tertiary medical center for management of ischemic stroke between July 1, 1977, and January 1, 1992.
Follow-up assessments were performed by means of questionnaires, examinations, telephone interviews, review of medical records, and reports from personal physicians. Data about risk factors, coincident medical diseases, etiology of stroke, treatment, recurrent stroke, other vascular events, and deaths were collected. Outcomes were rated with the Glasgow Outcome Scale, Barthel Index, National Institutes of Health stroke scale, and the Mini-Mental State Examination. Quality of life was assessed with the SF-36 Health Status questionnaire.
Follow-up information about the status of 10 patients was limited except that they were alive. Twenty-one patients (7%) died as the result of their initial stroke, and another 40 patients (14%) died during a mean follow-up of 6.0 years. None of the patients aged 25 years or younger at the time of stroke died during follow-up. Mortality was significantly higher among patients who had a stroke secondary to large-vessel stroke and it was significantly lower in patients with stroke of unknown etiology than in patients with stroke of other causes (relative risk [RR], 1.7; 95% confidence limits [CL], 1.0 to 2.7; and RR, 0.1; CL, 0 to 0.6; respectively). Recurrent strokes occurred in 23 patients (9%) and were fatal in 9. Another 37 patients were treated by a cardiologist during follow-up; 3 had had a myocardial infarct. Fourteen additional patients needed major vascular surgery. Outcomes with the Glasgow Outcome Scale and Barthel Index were generally favorable. Still, only 49% of patients were still alive, were not disabled, had not suffered from recurrent vascular events, or had not undergone major vascular surgery. Only 42% of survivors had returned to work. A majority of survivors reported emotional, social, or physical residuals that lessened the quality of life.
The risks of recurrent vascular events in young adults who have had ischemic stroke are considerable. In addition, a majority of survivors will have residual emotional, social, or physical impairments that hamper employment or lower the quality of life. Further research on the quality of life for young adults who survive stroke is needed.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association