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Chronic Diseases and Conditions

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Osteoarthritis impairs recovery from stroke

Patients with osteoarthritis (OA) admitted to rehabilitation hospitals for stroke had longer stays and were slower to recover functioning after discharge than those without OA, according to a new study supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS11618). Researchers used data from a large national registry of U.S. rehabilitation inpatients to examine the functional recovery of 3,094 patients with OA and 44,943 without OA who had been admitted following a stroke. They measured functional status with the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) instrument. After adjustment for several variables, such as patient age, coexisting conditions, and type of stroke, OA was associated with a 1.62-day increase in length of stay and a 1.37 smaller improvement in FIM scores between admission and followup.

The researchers explain that OA may impair stroke recovery due to OA-related pain that would interfere with activities such as standing, walking, sitting, and sleeping. These are the same activities that are the focus of rehabilitation efforts during and after discharge from rehabilitation facilities. Also, pain is associated with depression, anxiety, and fatigue, all of which can interfere with stroke rehabilitation and recovery.

See "Impact of osteoarthritis on the rehabilitation of patients following a stroke," by Tracy U. Nguyen-Oghalai, M.D., Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, Ph.D., Carl V. Granger, M.D., and James S. Goodwin, M.D., in the June 15, 2005, Arthritis & Rheumatism 53(3), pp. 383-387.

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