Acute medical complications in patients admitted to a stroke unit and safe transfer to rehabilitation

Donatella Bonaiuti, Paolo Sioli, Lorenzo Fumagalli, Ettore Beghi, Elio Agostoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acute medical complications often prevent patients with stroke from being transferred from stroke units to rehabilitation units, prolonging the occupation of hospital beds and delaying the start of intensive rehabilitation. This study defined incidence, timing, duration and risk factors of these complications during the acute phase of stroke. A retrospective case note review was made of hospital admissions of patients with stroke not associated with other disabling conditions, admitted to a stroke unit over 12 months and requiring rehabilitation for gait impairment. In this cohort, a search was made of hypertension, oxygen de-saturation, fever, and cardiac and pulmonary symptoms requiring medical intervention. Included were 135 patients. Hypertension was the most common complication (16.3%), followed by heart disease (14.8%), oxygen de-saturation (7.4%), fever (6.7%) and pulmonary disease (5.2%). Heart disease was the earliest and shortest complication. Most complications occurred during the first week. Except for hypertension, all complications resolved within 2 weeks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-623
Number of pages5
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Acute complications
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke
  • Stroke unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Dermatology


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