Venous thromboembolism in patients undergoing rehabilitation for stroke.
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OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence of venous thromboembolism during rehabilitation for stroke and to identify factors that alter its risk. DESIGN: Cohort. SETTING: Tertiary care stroke rehabilitation program. PATIENTS: 102 consecutive patients undergoing rehabilitation for stroke. INTERVENTIONS: Impedance plethysmography (IPG) as routine screening and in patients with symptoms of deep venous thrombosis (DVT). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: DVT, pulmonary embolism (PE), death from PE. RESULTS: Venous thromboembolism was documented in 11 patients (11%) an average of 60 days after stroke onset (range 14-138 days); 2 patients (2%) died from PE. DVT was found on routine IPG screening in six patients and verified by IPG in two clinically symptomatic patients. The odds of developing venous thromboembolism was 17.6 (95% confidence interval: 2.2-143.5) in patients who were bedridden or wheelchair-bound at the time of admission. CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of venous thromboembolism is high and greatest in bedridden or wheelchair-bound patients undergoing stroke rehabilitation; randomized trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of screening and/or prophylaxis in such patients are required.
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