Stroke Outcomes in People with Lupus
According to new research, lupus is a risk factor associated with a poorer outcome for stroke patients. People with lupus are more likely to experience neuropsychiatric symptoms such as cerebrovascular disease (conditions that effect the blood supply or blood vessels of the brain), which includes stroke.
The study assessed 160 patients who experienced stroke between 1997 and 2017, 40 of whom were people with lupus. Researchers found that stroke patients with lupus were more likely to have a poorer short-term (90-day) functional outcome and higher mortality and stroke recurrence rate, compared with other stroke patients. Study participants with lupus were also more likely to have moderate/severe stroke.
Functional dependence, defined as a person not being able to live independently and perform basic activities of daily living, was more impacted in study participants with lupus (32.5%) compared to other study participants (8.3%). This may be influenced by several factors including people with lupus are more likely to experience stroke recurrence, which can result in further deterioration while hospitalized. There is also a higher likelihood of complications such as post-stroke seizures (22.5% of study participants with lupus vs 3.3% of other participants), severe infections, deep venous thrombosis, and lupus flare in other organ systems. People with lupus who experience stroke may have been more dependent on functional support due to previous stroke or other health issues pre-stroke, resulting in additional challenges. Finally, neuropsychiatric complications such as depression can slow recovery.
Study participants with lupus had a higher rate of death (7.5%) within 30 days of stroke compared to other study participants (2.5%). Long-term, the survival rate for people with lupus who experience stroke is also lower (45.2% vs. 84.9% at 15 years) and likelihood of stroke recurrence is higher (40.5% vs. 14.3% at 10 years).
The latest research points to specific risk factors that may make people with lupus more vulnerable to long-term impacts from stroke. While there has been other research on the topic, more is needed into the connection between lupus and the condition.