Cardiac autonomic dysfunction and functional outcome after ischaemic stroke.


ischaemic stroke has been associated with an impairment of cardiac autonomic balance. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of cardiac autonomic derangement on functional outcome after a rehabilitation program in patients with recent ischaemic stroke. The study population included 85 consecutive first-ever stroke survivors (46 men and 39 women; mean age 60.0 +/- 12.4 years), who underwent 24-h Holter monitoring before the beginning of a 60-day rehabilitation program. Time-domain measures of heart-rate variability (HRV) were considered in all cases. By the end of the rehabilitation program an unfavorable functional outcome with dependency (Barthel Index score of <75) was found in 44.7% of patients. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that age [odds ratio (OR) 1.09, 95% CI 1.04-1.19, P = 0.002], stroke severity (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01-1.34, P = 0.004), Barthel Index score (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.87-0.98, P = 0.01) and Rankin Scale score (OR 3.88, 95% CI 2.13-7.56, P = 0.02) on admission, as well as lower values of the standard deviation of normal-to-normal R wave to R wave (RR) intervals (OR 9.67, 95% CI 2.58-18.67, P = 0.006) were independent predictors of an unfavorable functional outcome. Assessment of HRV before a rehabilitation program may provide additional information on the probability of a functional recovery in stroke survivors.


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