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Poor sleep quality leads to poorer prognosis after stroke
Date:4/28/2009

arge from the hospital. Other studies have shown similar results, Stead said, but the latest research included a larger sample size compared to earlier studies.

Strokes are the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States. Since sleep apnea is a breathing disorder associated with the collapse of the pharyngeal airway, it causes potentially dangerous fluctuations in blood pressure.

Researchers do not know the exact mechanisms associated with sleep apnea and poorer outcomes following a stroke. But Stead noted it is more difficult for the brain and related tissue to heal when blood is not properly oxygenated during a disrupted sleep cycle. Furthermore, patients do not respond well to stroke rehabilitation programs when they are repeatedly sleep deprived.

"The next step," she said, "is to begin routine screening for obstructive sleep apnea as part of the emergency department evaluation of stroke patients."

Stead and research colleagues also presented a study at AAN showing that high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is another predictor of early death following a stroke. While other studies have shown that diabetics face poorer outcomes after a stroke, this study focused on non-diabetics or undiagnosed diabetics who had higher-than-normal blood sugar levels in the emergency department.

"The important message is that in the Emergency Department setting, it's critical to investigate all of the known risk factors that indicate a poor prognosis following a stroke," Stead said. Other known risk factors include low blood pressure and irregular heart rhythm.

Stead's research is funded by a Mayo Foundation Emergency Medicine Research Career Development Award.


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Contact: Leslie Orr
Leslie_Orr@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-5774
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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