Wake-up Strokes Are Similar to Known-Onset Morning Strokes in Severity and Outcome

J Neurol Neurol Disord. 2014 Dec;1(1):102. doi: 10.15744/2454-4981.1.102. Epub 2014 Dec 29.


Background: Stroke symptoms noticed upon waking, wake-up stroke, account for up to a quarter of all acute ischemic strokes. Patients with wake-up stroke, however, are often excluded from thrombolytic therapy.

Methods: Using our prospectively collected stroke registry, wake-up stroke and known-onset morning strokes were identified. Wakeup stroke was defined as a patient who was asleep >3 hours and first noted stroke symptoms upon awakening between 0100 and 1100. Known-onset morning stroke was defined as a patient who had symptom onset while awake during the same time interval. We compared wake-up stoke to known-onset morning stroke with respect to patient demographics, stroke severity, etiology and outcomes.

Results: One-quarter of patients with acute ischemic strokes (391/1415) had documented time between 0100 and 1100 of symptom onset: 141 (36%) wake-up strokes and 250 (64%) known-onset morning strokes. No difference in baseline characteristics, stroke severity, stroke etiology, neurologic deterioration, discharge disposition or functional outcome was detected. Known-onset morning stroke patients were significantly more likely to get thrombolytic therapy and have higher risk of in-hospital mortality. Wake-up stroke patients tended to be older, have higher diastolic blood pressure and have longer length of hospital stay.

Discussion: While patients with wake-up stroke were similar to patients with known-onset morning stroke in many respects, patients with known onset morning stroke were significantly more likely to get treated with thrombolytic therapy and have higher in-hospital mortality.

Keywords: Acute ischemic stroke; Outcomes; Severity; Thrombolysis; Wake-up stroke.