Analyzing the loss to patients in this way may "help decision-makers understand the burden of post-stroke complications and the imperatives of implementing organized stroke care more widely," Hong said.
Dr. Steven R. Levine, a professor of neurology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said that "we don't know how generalizable Korean patients are to America, so [the study] needs to be done again for American patients."
Korean patients seemed to have more intracranial complications than is seen in the United States, "so their numbers may be worse than ours, but it could be in the same ballpark," he said.
The best way to prevent loss of healthy years is to prevent stroke in the first place, Levine said. Stroke remains the leading cause of disability in the United States and the third leading cause of death, he noted.
Another expert, Dr. Larry B. Goldstein, director of the Duke Stroke Center at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., said that when complications occur after stroke, physical therapy and other interventions can help.
"Having complications is not a good thing," he said. "And anything we can do to reduce complications will, hopefully, be helpful."
Patient's conditions can also change over time, he said. "If somebody has an acute complication, it may affect how they are at three months, but not necessarily how they are at six months," Goldstein noted.
For more information on stroke, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Keun-Sik Hong, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Neurology, Inje University, South Korea; Larry B. Goldstein, M.D., professor, neurology, and director, Duke Stroke Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Steven R. Levine, M
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