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Assessing the impact of thrombolysis on progress through inpatient rehabilitation after stroke: a multivariable approach


Background — Acute administration of tissue plasminogen activator has been shown to improve immediate and long-term patient recovery after ischaemic stroke. Yet, despite widespread clinical application, many patients who receive acute tissue plasminogen activator still require inpatient rehabilitation.

Aims and Hypothesis — This study aimed to examine the effect of tissue plasminogen activator administration on recovery among patients requiring inpatient rehabilitation after stroke in Ontario, Canada. It was hypothesized that after covariate adjustment, administration of tissue plasminogen activator would be associated with accelerated progress through inpatient rehabilitation.

Methods — Acute and rehabilitation data were retrieved from the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network and the National Rehabilitation Reporting System for all ischaemic stroke patients admitted to an acute facility and a rehabilitation unit between July 1, 2003 and March 31, 2008. Patients were divided into two groups: those who received tissue plasminogen activator and those who were medically eligible but did not receive tissue plasminogen activator. Three rehabilitation progress indicators were compared between groups: Functional Independence Measure gain, active length of stay, and discharge destination. Indicators were modelled using multivariable generalized linear models or logistic regression as appropriate.

Results — Patients who received tissue plasminogen activator experienced shorter active lengths of stay (log estimate ± standard error: -0.04 ± 0.01 days), and were slightly more likely to be discharged home compared to controls (adjusted odds ratio 1.35, 95% confidence interval 1.004–1.82). No differences were noted on Functional Independence Measure gain during rehabilitation.

Conclusion — Results suggest that tissue plasminogen activator may contribute to accelerated progress through inpatient rehabilitation; however, there is no evidence to suggest that it contributes to greater functional improvement as measured by the Functional Independence Measure.



Meyer M, Murie-Fernandez M, Hall R, Liu Y, Fang J, Salter K, Foley N, Teasell R. Int J Stroke. 2012; 7(6):460-4. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

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