Acute stroke chameleons in a university hospital: Risk factors, circumstances, and outcomes.

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Acute stroke chameleons in a university hospital: Risk factors, circumstances, and outcomes.

Neurology. 2015 Aug 11;85(6):505-11

Authors: Richoz B, Hugli O, Dami F, Carron PN, Faouzi M, Michel P

OBJECTIVE: To identify risk factors, circumstances, and outcomes for individuals with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) chameleons (AIS-C) arriving in the emergency department of a university hospital.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed all patients with AIS from the prospectively constructed Acute Stroke Registry and Analysis of Lausanne during 8.25 years. AIS-C were defined as a failure to suspect stroke or as incorrect exclusion of stroke diagnosis. They were compared with patients diagnosed correctly at the time of admission.
RESULTS: Forty-seven of 2,200 AIS were missed (2.1%). These AIS-C were either very mild or very severe strokes. Multivariate analysis showed a younger age in patients with AIS-C (odds ratio [OR] per year 0.98, p < 0.01), less prestroke statin treatment (OR 0.29, p = 0.04), and lower diastolic admission blood pressure (OR 0.98 p = 0.04). They showed less eye deviation (OR 0.21, p = 0.04) and more cerebellar strokes (OR 3.78, p < 0.01). AIS-C were misdiagnosed as other neurologic (42.6% of cases) or nonneurologic (17.0%) disease, as unexplained decreased level of consciousness (21.3%), and as concomitantly present disease (19.1%). At 12 months, patients with AIS-C had less favorable outcomes (adjusted OR 0.21, p < 0.01) and higher mortality (adjusted OR 4.37, p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: AIS are missed in patients with younger age with a lower cerebrovascular risk profile and may be masked by other acute conditions. Patients with chameleons present more often with milder strokes or coma, fewer focal signs and cerebellar strokes, and have higher disability and mortality rates at 12 months. These findings may be used to raise awareness in emergency departments to recognize and treat such patients appropriately.

PMID: 26180146 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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