This study examined the value of serum albumin level as a predictor of medical complications and functional outcomes in 79 patients, age 65 years or older, who underwent comprehensive inpatient interdisciplinary rehabilitation for a first-time, unilateral, thromboembolic stroke. We recorded serum albumin levels at the time of admission to an inpatient rehabilitation unit, reports of the medical complications during rehabilitation, and Modifified Barthel Index (MBI) Scores on admission and discharge. The mean (±SD) serum albumin level for all patients was 3.3 ± 0.4g/dL. Forty-two patients (53%) had a total of 69 medical complications during rehabilitation. Mean serum albumin levels were 3.2 ± 0.4g/dL for the group with complications and 3.5 ± 0.3g/dL for the group without complications (t = -4.34, p < 0.001). Of the 37 patients with albumin levels ≥ 3.5g/dL, only 32% had complications; of the 28 patients with levels from 3.0 to 3.4g/dL, 68% had complications; of the 14 patients with levels ≤ 2.9g/dL, 79% experienced complications (χ2 = 12.4, p = 0.002). There were positive correlations between serum albumin levels and the discharge MBI Self-Care Subscores, Mobility Subscores, and Total Scores (p < 0.001). There were also correlations between serum albumin levels and the Mobility and Total MBI Improvement Scores (p = 0.002 and p = 0.008, respectively). The relationship between serum albumin levels discharge destination approached statistical significance. Neither age nor side of lesion were related to serum albumin level, medical complication rate, or functional outcomes. Serum albumin levels appear to be related to medical complication rate and functional outcome in geriatric stroke patients. This suggests that older stroke patients with hypoalbuminemia may warrant closer medical attention or therapeutic intervention before and during rehabilitation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation