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Older age, arrhythmia predict impaired processing speed in stroke survivors

11 Feb 2019

Impaired processing speed (IPS) in stroke survivors may persist long after the index event, a study reports. Some of the baseline factors that predict IPS include older age, arrhythmia, previous stroke and coronary artery disease.

Researchers assessed IPS using the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) 4 years after stroke in a cohort of 133 survivors (mean age 67.0 years). Baseline factors potentially associated with IPS were determined at time of stroke and/or within 2 weeks of the acute event.

Long-term IPS was highly prevalent, with 62 percent of survivors having a mean SDMT score <40 at 4 years after stroke.

Multivariable regression models revealed the following baseline variables as significant predictors of long-term IPS: arrhythmia (odds ratio [OR], 4.40; 95 percent CI, 1.5–12.4; p=0.01), coronary artery disease (OR, 3.35; 1.6–9.6; p=0.01), older age (OR, 3.03; 0.9–9.3; p=0.05), previous stroke (OR, 2.74; 1.0–7.4; p=0.05), cholesterol (OR, 2.72; 1.3–5.4; p=0.01) and hypertension (OR, 1.82; 0.9–3.6; p=0.05).

Findings of the present study may aid in identification of stroke patients who are at higher risk of IPS, researchers said. Early identification is especially important to target rehabilitation interventions and improve overall outcomes.

IPS affects up to 70 percent of stroke survivors and exerts a huge influence on poststroke cognitive dysfunction, leading to a poor quality of life and increased dependence on others, they added.

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