Researchers: Post-stroke care changes may be in order

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Stroke patients readmitted to the hospital are more liable to be suffering from heart or pneumonia problems rather than another stroke, researchers say. As a result, stroke care protocols could change.

"Few stroke patients survive five years without a readmission to the hospital. Common wisdom has been that patients who have had a stroke are likely to return to the hospital for treatment of another stroke," said lead study author Dawn M. Bravata, M.D., Indiana University School of Medicine associate professor of medicine.

While physicians treating stroke patients need to keep focusing on recurrence of that event, however, they also must be mindful of other conditions, Bravata noted. In a study of more than 2,600 stroke patients, for example, those readmitted to a hospital were twice as likely to be there because of pneumonia rather than another stroke.

Bravata's follow-up work includes studying whether interventions such as pneumonia and flu vaccinations can decrease hospital readmissions for stroke survivors.
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