The prognostic predictors of poor outcome, as defined by death between 3 and 15 months and dependent living at 15 months, were examined in the Helsinki Stroke Aging Memory (SAM) study cohort. Death between 3 and 15 months was registered from the whole study group of 486 consecutive patients aged 55–85 years. Altogether 286 of the 486 patients went through a detailed follow-up examination both 3 and 15 months after stroke, including structured measures of emotion (Beck’s Depression Inventory, BDI), cognition (Mini-Mental State Examination, MMSE), dementia assessment according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III), and handicap (Rankin scale, RS). The only independent correlate of death between 3 and 15 months was dependent living at 3 months (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2–5.8), which also had the most powerful association with dependent living at 15 months (OR 5.8, 95% CI 2.6–13.1). Also, both worsening in cognition (change in MMSE, OR for each point of worsening 1.2, 95% CI 1.1–1.3) and worsening of depression (change in BDI, OR for each point of worsening 1.1, 95% CI 1.02–1.12), between 3 and 15 months follow-up, had an independent effect on dependent living 15 months after ischemic stroke. This challenges the care and rehabilitation of these items even at the stable period after stroke.
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