Objective: to determine the outcome of stroke patients undergoing mechanical ventilation.
Design: retrospective chart review and follow-up telephone interview.
Setting: medical ICU in a multidisciplinary university hospital.
Patients and participants: 199 stroke patients from 1984-1989 where the final diagnosis was stroke.
Interventions: all patients were admitted for the need of mechanical ventilation.
Measurements and results: demographic information, previous relevant diseases, stroke type, general clinical and neurological data, biochemical variables, severity of illness were recorded for the first 24 h following ICU admission. A 1-year follow-up was performed, including mortality and functional status of survivors. Of 170 eventually analyzable patients, 123 (72.4%) died during their ICU stay and 156 (91.8%) during the first year. Three variables were independently associated with one-year mortality: Glasgow score < 10 (p < 0.03), bradycardia (p < 0.001), absence of brainstem reflexes (p < 0.0004).
Conclusion: overall prognosis of stroke needing mechanical ventilation is poor, strongly linked to symptoms of neurological impairment.