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Gastrointestinal bleeding after acute ischemic stroke


Objective — Recent studies report that major bleeding is associated with a significant increase in mortality after acute coronary syndrome. Major bleeding has also been reported to be common after ischemic stroke, most often gastrointestinal, but its association with clinical outcome is less certain. We sought to describe the incidence, risk factors, and association with clinical outcomes of gastrointestinal bleeding following acute ischemic stroke.

Methods — Consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke, who were admitted to 11 Ontario hospitals, were identified from the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network (2003-2006). Stroke severity was measured using the Canadian Neurological Scale. Dependence was measured with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), and categorized into strokes with no or mild-moderate dependency (mRS 0-3) and those with severe dependence or death (mRS 4-6). Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association between gastrointestinal bleeding and clinical outcome (death or severe dependence at hospital discharge and 6-month mortality), independent of comorbidities and in-hospital medical complications.

Results — In total, 6,853 patients with acute ischemic stroke were included. One hundred (1.5%) patients experienced gastrointestinal hemorrhage during hospitalization, of which 36 (0.5%) required blood transfusion. On multivariable analyses, previous history of peptic ulcer disease, cancer, and stroke severity were independent predictors of gastrointestinal bleeding. Gastrointestinal hemorrhage was independently associated with death or severe dependence at discharge (OR 3.3; 95% CI 1.9-5.8) and mortality at 6 months (HR 1.5; 95% CI 1.1-2.0).

Conclusions — Gastrointestinal hemorrhage is relatively uncommon after acute ischemic stroke but is associated with increased odds of death and severe dependence.



O'Donnell MJ, Kapral MK, Fang J, Saposnik G, Eikelboom JW, Oczkowski W, Silva J, Gould L, D'Uva C, Silver FL, Investigators of the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network. Neurology. 2008; 71(9):650-5. Epub 2008 Aug 6.

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