Predictors of early neurological deterioration after ischaemic stroke: a case-control study

Gerontology. Mar-Apr 2004;50(2):102-9. doi: 10.1159/000075561.


Background: Early neurological deterioration after ischaemic stroke (stroke in progression) is reported to be common and associated with poor outcome or death. The causes of progressing stroke are, however, uncertain.

Objective: To determine whether prior drug treatment (with anticoagulant or antiplatelet agents) or early adverse physiological features (pyrexia, hypoxia, dehydration or hyperglycaemia) are associated with progressing ischaemic stroke.

Methods: The study used a case-control design. From a database of 873 consecutive acute stroke admissions, 196 cases of progressing ischaemic stroke (defined by point deterioration in components of the Scandinavian Stroke Scale or death over the first 72 h after hospital admission) were matched to 196 controls on the basis of age and stroke type. Univariate and conditional logistic regression techniques were used to explore predictors of progressing stroke.

Results: Cases and controls were well matched for baseline stroke severity. Warfarin use prior to admission was associated with a reduced risk of progressing stroke [odds ratio (OR) 0.10, p = 0.005]. Prior antiplatelet use was not related. A previous history of diabetes (OR 2.11, p = 0.039) and elevated systolic blood pressure on admission (OR 1.01 for each 1 mm Hg rise, p = 0.017) predicted progressing stroke. Although there were no differences in time to presentation or to brain imaging, a visible causative lesion on CT scanning was more common in the progressing stroke group (OR 2.30, p = 0.022). We found no evidence that adverse physiological features were associated with progressing stroke. Outcomes were worse in the progressing stroke group with 70% being dead or dependent by 30 days compared to 55% in the control group (p = 0.002).

Conclusion: Prior warfarin use may be protective against progressing ischaemic stroke. A previous history of diabetes along with elevated admission systolic blood pressure predict deterioration. We found no evidence for an association between adverse physiological features and progressing stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Registries
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Systole / physiology
  • Warfarin / therapeutic use


  • Anticoagulants
  • Warfarin