Article| Volume 85, ISSUE 3, P466-469, March 2004

Medical complications experienced by a cohort of stroke survivors during inpatient, tertiary-level stroke rehabilitation 1

  • Deirdre E McLean
    Correspondence to Deirdre E. McLean, MD, FRCP, Queen Elizabeth Health Sciences Centre, Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre Site, 1341 Summer St, Halifax, NS, B3H 4K4, Canada. Reprints are not available from the author
    Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
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      McLean DE. Medical complications experienced by a cohort of stroke survivors during inpatient, tertiary-level stroke rehabilitation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:466–9.


      To identify the most common medical complications experienced by stroke survivors during inpatient, tertiary-level stroke rehabilitation.


      Prospective, descriptive analysis.


      A tertiary-level, 23-bed, inpatient stroke rehabilitation unit in Nova Scotia, Canada.


      All stroke survivors (N=133) admitted for tertiary-level stroke rehabilitation during a 1-year period.


      Not applicable.

      Main outcome measures

      The attending physiatrist determined the presence or absence of specific complications during the interdisciplinary team conference held during the week of discharge for each patient.


      The 4 most common medical complications were depression (26%), shoulder pain (24%), falls (20%), and urinary tract infection (UTI) (15%). Other less common complications included back and hip pain (5%), gastrointestinal disturbances (4%), and pneumonia (2%). Seizures, pressure ulcers, and shoulder-hand syndrome each occurred in 1.5% of the population.


      Depression, shoulder pain, falls, and UTIs are common complications experienced by stroke survivors during inpatient rehabilitation. Heightened awareness of these potential complications may lead to prevention or to earlier recognition and improved management of these conditions.


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