OBJECTIVES: To assess how much of the excess risk of poor outcome from stroke in people aged 80 and older aging per se explains, independent of other prognostic determinants.
DESIGN: Cohort, observational.
SETTING: University hospital.
PARTICIPANTS: One thousand five hundred fifty-five patients with first-ever ischemic stroke consecutively referred to an in-hospital Clinical Pathway program were studied.
MEASUREMENTS: The relationship between age and 1-month outcome (death, disability (modified Rankin Scale 3–5), and poor outcome (modified Rankin Scale 3–6)) was assessed, with adjustment for several prognostic factors.
RESULTS: Six hundred twelve patients aged 80 and older showed worse outcome after 1 month than those who were younger, in terms of mortality (19% vs 5%, hazard ratio (HR)=3.85, 95% confidence interval (CI)=2.8–5.4) and disability (51% vs 33%, odds ratio (OR)=3.16, 95% CI=2.5–4.0), although in multivariate models, the adjusted HR for mortality decreased to 1.47 (95% CI=1.0–2.16) and the ORs for disability and poor outcome decreased to 1.76 (95% CI=1.32–2.3.) and 1.83 (95% CI=137–2.43), respectively. Stroke severity, the occurrence of at least one medical complication, and premorbid disability explained most of the risk excess in the oldest-old.
CONCLUSION: Stroke outcome is definitely worse in very old people, and most of the excess risk of death and disability is attributable to the higher occurrences of the most-severe clinical stroke syndromes and of medical complications in the acute phase. These represent potential targets for preventive and therapeutical strategies specifically for elderly people.