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The cost of stroke complications is two years of healthy life

July 1, 2010 |  2:21 pm

Stroke A stroke is something you really want to try and avoid. According to a study published Thursday, among people who survive a stroke, complications from the event typically deprive people of about two years of healthy life.

The study examined the outcomes of more than 1,200 stroke patients (their average age was 66) treated in university hospitals in South Korea. All of the patients had serious ischemic strokes, in which a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is blocked. Researchers calculated the impact of the stroke in terms of a measure called "disability-adjusted life years." This measure combines years of life lost with years of healthy life lost due to disability. The average disability-adjusted life years lost to stroke was 3.82. But among patients suffering any of a range of complications, the average was 5.21 -- a difference of two years.

About 34% of stroke patients have some complication within four weeks of the event, such as stroke progression, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, seizure or other problems. However, aggressive care can minimize the risk of complications. Information on recovering from a stroke can be found on this web page.

The study is published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Assn.

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Laszlo Balogh  /  Reuters