Are greater efforts needed to prevent cachexia in stroke patients?


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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New research suggests that cachectic stroke patients have lower functional and physical capacity than non-cachectic patients at 12 months after stroke, with experts suggesting that the development of cachexia after stroke should be recognised as a relevant complication. 

The prospective cohort study included 67 patients with acute ischaemic stroke and with mild to moderate neurological deficit, who were enrolled within 48 hours after stroke onset. Baseline measurements included body weight and body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; functional status by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, modified Rankin scale and Barthel index and muscle strength by handgrip and quadriceps tests. The measurements were repeated one year later.

At 12 months, 21 per cent of patients had become cachectic. The study found both physical and functional clinical status at follow‐up was lower in cachectic patients compared with non‐cachectic patients. 

Presenting the findings in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, the authors said, "better understanding of the interaction between stroke‐related brain injury and systemic metabolism seems to be required for better prevention of cachexia in patients with stroke."

The research was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Heart & Stroke 2019 conference.

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