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12/23/2009 - News

Lack of Insurance May Affect Stroke Outcome

By: June Chen, MD


Several factors predict a patient’s functional status after stroke. In a study published online June 25, 2009 in the journal Stroke, researchers report that functional independence after stroke declines each year for up to 5 years and the decline is most pronounced among those with Medicaid or no health insurance.

Researchers from Columbia University and University of Miami identified a group of patients aged 40 and older with ischemic stroke of varying degrees of severity and followed them for up to five years to evaluate their functional status. The study included 525 patients with an average age of 69 years, half of whom had either Medicaid or no insurance. The researchers found that those stroke patients with either Medicaid or no insurance suffered the greatest effects in terms of functional decline. These effects were independent of age and stroke severity, and the decline occurred even if the patient did not have another stroke or heart attack.

The findings of this study suggest that stroke is a chronic condition that demonstrates a steady decline over time. They also highlight the importance of ongoing access to healthcare, including rehabilitation and physician follow-up, in the years following an ischemic stroke.



Stroke, published online ahead of print June 25, 2009.

Created on: 07/02/2009
Reviewed on: 12/23/2009

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