Assessing suicide risk in stroke patients: review of two cases

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1990 Nov;71(12):1003-5.


Poststroke depression can be accompanied by suicidal ideation, yet reports of suicide among stroke patients are rare. When untreated, depression can become prolonged and severe. Risk factors for suicide include depression, severe insomnia, chronic illness, and organic brain syndrome. Early clinical assessment of suicide risk factors is essential in the rehabilitation setting. Two patients who developed mood disturbances in the acute poststroke period and eventually committed suicide are presented. Neither patient openly expressed suicidal thoughts to staff or family members. Retrospective analysis of medical records was compared to established suicide risk factors reported in the medical literature. Indirect verbal cues and nonverbal behavior patterns indicating potential suicide risk may have been present. Strategies for evaluation and management of suicidal behavior are discussed. These cases emphasize the need for early assessment of suicide risk by the entire rehabilitation team.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia / psychology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Depression / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / prevention & control*