Objective: To investigate the prevalence, excess risk, and risk factors of unemployment in patients after a TIA, ischemic stroke, or intracerebral hemorrhage at ages 18 through 50 years, compared with nationwide controls.
Methods: We performed a hospital-based cohort study among 694 patients, aged 18-50 years, with a first-ever TIA, ischemic stroke, or intracerebral hemorrhage. After a mean follow-up duration of 8.1 (SD 7.7) years, we used logistic regression analysis to calculate odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) for being unemployed as a young stroke patient, compared with the Dutch population of vocational age (n = 7,803,000), with subsequent assessment of risk factors of unemployment.
Results: Young stroke patients had a higher risk of being unemployed than their peers in the Dutch population: women OR 2.3 (1.8-2.9), men OR 3.2 (2.5-4.0). A higher NIH Stroke Scale score at admission (OR 1.1 [95% CI 1.0-1.1]) and a longer follow-up duration (middle tertile OR 2.8 [95% CI 1.7-4.7], upper tertile OR 3.4 [95% CI 1.9-6.1]) were associated with a higher risk of being unemployed.
Conclusion: Young stroke patients had a 2-3 times higher risk of unemployment after 8 years of follow-up. Return-to-work programs should be developed, adjusted, and evaluated in order to diminish the negative effects that unemployment can have on patients' life satisfaction and to limit the socioeconomic consequences.
© 2014 American Academy of Neurology.