The diagnosis and management of cerebrovascular disease in diabetes.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Diabetes is associated with more ischemic strokes and diabetic patients have up to a three-fold increased risk for suffering a stroke, compared with non-diabetics. The aim of this study is to evaluate whether diabetes mellitus may also affect the functional outcome of patients with acute ischemic stroke, undergoing post-acute care rehabilitation. METHODS A retrospective charts analysis of consecutive older patients with acute ischemic stroke admitted for rehabilitation at a tertiary hospital with post-acute care geriatric rehabilitation wards. Functional outcome of diabetics and non-diabetics was assessed by the Functional Independence Measurement scale (FIM) at admission and discharge. Data were analysed by t-tests, Pearson correlation, and Chi-square test, as well as by linear regression analysis. RESULTS A total number of 527 patients were admitted, of whom 39% were diabetics. Compared with non-diabetics, diabetic stroke patients were slightly younger (p = 0.0001) but had similar admission FIM scores. FIM gain parameters (total FIM gain, motor FIM gain, daily total and motor FIM gains) upon discharge were similar in both groups. A linear regression analysis showed that higher MMSE scores (beta = 0.08; p = 0.01) and higher admission total FIM scores (beta = 0.87; p < 0.001) predicted higher total FIM scores upon discharge. Diabetes mellitus was not interrelated, whatsoever, with better total FIM scores upon discharge (beta = -0.03; p = 0.27). CONCLUSIONS The findings suggest that there is no difference in the functional outcome of diabetic and non-diabetic patients, presenting for rehabilitation after acute ischemic stroke. Diabetes should not be considered as adversely affecting rehabilitation of such patients.