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Increased risk of traffic injury after a cerebrovascular event

Yu AYX, Kapral MK, Fang J, Redelmeier DA. Stroke. 2018; 49(12):3006-11. Epub 2018 Oct 19.


Background and Purpose — We aimed to determine the long-term risks of a motor vehicle collision after a cerebrovascular event and whether the risks were similar after left- or right-hemispheric events.

Methods — We used a population-based registry to identify patients diagnosed with a transient ischemic attack or stroke (hemorrhagic or ischemic) between 2003 and 2013 in Ontario, Canada. Hemispheric laterality was determined using radiological and clinical findings. We identified subsequent serious injuries involving the patient as a driver using linked administrative data. Secondary outcomes included serious injuries involving the patient as a pedestrian, as a passenger, or other traumatic events (fall, fracture, ankle sprain). We used proportional hazard models accounting for death as a competing risk to test the association of hemispheric laterality and outcomes with and without adjustment for age, sex, discharge modified Rankin Scale score, home location, and prior driving record. Patients were followed through to 2017.

Results — Among 26 144 patients with hemispheric cerebrovascular events, 377 subsequent serious traffic injuries as a driver (2.2 per 1000 person-year) were identified over a median follow-up of 6.4 person-years. The rate did not differ by laterality (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.82–1.23). The risk of a serious traffic injury as a pedestrian was significantly higher after a right-sided than left-sided event (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.02–1.58). Subsequent risks for other traumatic injuries did not differ by laterality of cerebrovascular event.

Conclusions — The risk of a serious traffic injury as a pedestrian is substantially higher after a right-hemispheric cerebrovascular event compared with a left-sided event. Walking should be promoted for exercise in survivors of a stroke or transient ischemic attack, but these vulnerable road users may benefit from additional poststroke rehabilitation to optimize safety.

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