Post-stroke malnutrition may linger on for months: experts

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Post-stroke malnutrition may linger on for months: experts
Post-stroke malnutrition may linger on for months: experts
Individuals who have had a stroke might continue to have difficulty eating three months or longer after the event, despite regaining the strength for most other physical functions, a new study finds.

Researchers from Sweden's Karolinska Institute compared eating difficulties among patients three months after a stroke with problems experienced immediately after a stroke. To do this, researchers assessed 36 stroke patients with a median age of 75, once within five days of the stroke and once again three months later.

All of the participants struggled with eating difficulties, reduced alertness or swallowing problems after their stroke. When assessed in the hospital just after their strokes, 78%of  study participants were considered at risk for malnutrition. Three months later, 56% of participants were still considered to be at risk.

Based on the results, the investigators recommended that every individual who suffers a stroke be continually assessed for risk of malnutrition, even when all other symptoms have dissipated.

“Although the patients' overall nutritional status improved in the three months after their stroke, more than a half of them were still at nutritional risk and the number that remained malnourished was the same as during the acute phase,” of the stroke, nurse researcher Jorgen Medin, R.N., Ph.D., said.  

The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing.