In-Hospital Medical Complications, Length of Stay, and Mortality Among Stroke Unit Patients
Background and Purpose—The relationship between in-hospital stroke-related medical complications and clinical outcome remains unclear. We examined whether medical complications were associated with length of stay (LOS) and mortality among stroke unit patients.
Methods—Using population-based Danish medical registries, we performed a follow-up study among all patients with acute stroke admitted to stroke units in 2 counties between 2003 and 2009 (n=13 721). Data regarding in-hospital medical complications, including pneumonia, urinary tract infection, pressure ulcer, falls, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and severe constipation together with LOS and mortality were prospectively registered.
Results—Overall, 25.2% of patients (n=3453) experienced 1 or more medical complications during hospitalization. The most common complications were urinary tract infection (15.4%), pneumonia (9.0%), and constipation (6.8%). Median LOS was 13 days (25th and 75th quartiles, 5 and 33). All medical complications were associated with longer LOS. The adjusted relative LOS extension ranged from 1.80 (95% CI, 1.54–2.11) for pneumonia to 3.06 (95% CI, 2.67–3.52) for falls. Patients with 1 or more complications had an increased 1-year mortality rate (adjusted mortality rate ratio [MRR], 1.20; 95% CI, 1.04–1.39). The association was mainly because of pneumonia, which was associated with higher mortality both after 30 days (adjusted MRR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.31–1.93) and 1 year (adjusted MRR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.45–2.14).
Conclusions—In-hospital medical complications were associated with longer LOS and some, in particular pneumonia, also with an increased mortality among patients with acute stroke.
- Received December 8, 2010.
- Accepted May 27, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.