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Persistent pain common after stroke

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) Pain is common shortly after stroke and the pain may persist for months, according to a survey of 297 Swedish stroke sufferers.

Four months after suffering a stroke, 96 patients (32 percent) reported moderate to severe pain, 23 had mild pain, and 178 had no pain, Dr. Ann-Cathrin Jonsson and colleagues from Lund University Hospital in Sweden found.

Significant predictors of pain included younger age, female sex, higher severity of stroke and higher HbA1c -- an indicator of blood sugar.

At 16 months, 62 patients (21 per cent) had moderate to severe pain, 12 patients had mild pain, and 223 had no pain. Pain intensity was more severe at 16 months than at 4 months, particularly in women with signs of depression.

Pain was constant in up to 47 per cent of subjects reporting pain at both follow-up assessments, and was often present in up to 68 percent, according to Jonsson and colleagues.

Forty-nine percent to 58 per cent patients with moderate to severe pain reported difficulty sleeping because of their pain.

''Because of the high prevalence of pain in stroke patients,'' noted Dr. Hilde Henon, of Lille University Hospital, France, who was not involved in the study, ''it is necessary to educate physicians ... who, in most cases, do not consider pain an important concern in stroke patients, as suggested by the small number of publications on this topic.'' Reuters CH GC0834

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