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      Stroke Outcomes in Malawi, a Country with High Prevalence of HIV: A Prospective Follow-Up Study

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          Stroke contributes significantly to disability and mortality in developing countries yet little is known about the determinants of stroke outcomes in such countries. 12% of Malawian adults have HIV/AIDS. It is not known whether having HIV-infection alters the outcome of stroke. The aim of this study was to document the functional outcome and mortality at 1 year of first-ever acute stroke in Malawi. Also to find out if the baseline variables, including HIV-infection, affect the outcome of stroke.

          Methods and Findings

          147 adult patients with first-ever acute stroke were prospectively followed up for 12 months. Conventional risk factors and HIV-infection were assessed at baseline. Stroke severity was evaluated with modified National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (mNIHSS) and functional outcome with modified Rankin scale (mRS). Fifty (34%) of patients were HIV-seropositive. 53.4% of patients had a poor outcome (severe disability or death, mRS 4–6) at 1 year. Poor outcome was related to stroke severity and female gender but not to presence of HIV-infection. HIV-seropositive patients were younger and had less often common risk factors for stroke. They suffer more often ischemic stroke than HIV-seronegative patients.


          Mild stroke and male gender were associated with favourable outcome. HIV-infection is common in stroke patients in Malawi but does not worsen the outcome of stroke. However, it may be a risk factor for ischemic stroke for young people, who do not have the common stroke risk factors. Our results are significant, because stroke outcome in HIV-seropositive patients has not been studied before in a setting such as ours, with very limited resources and a high prevalence of HIV.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Classification and natural history of clinically identifiable subtypes of cerebral infarction.

          We describe the incidence and natural history of four clinically identifiable subgroups of cerebral infarction in a community-based study of 675 patients with first-ever stroke. Of 543 patients with a cerebral infarct, 92 (17%) had large anterior circulation infarcts with both cortical and subcortical involvement (total anterior circulation infarcts, TACI); 185 (34%) had more restricted and predominantly cortical infarcts (partial anterior circulation infarcts, PACI); 129 (24%) had infarcts clearly associated with the vertebrobasilar arterial territory (posterior circulation infarcts, POCI); and 137 (25%) had infarcts confined to the territory of the deep perforating arteries (lacunar infarcts, LACI). There were striking differences in natural history between the groups. The TACI group had a negligible chance of good functional outcome and mortality was high. More than twice as many deaths were due to the complications of immobility than to direct neurological sequelae of the infarct. Patients in the PACI group were much more likely to have an early recurrent stroke than were patients in other groups. Those in the POCI group were at greater risk of a recurrent stroke later in the first year after the index event but had the best chance of a good functional outcome. Despite the small anatomical size of the infarcts in the LACI group, many patients remained substantially handicapped. The findings have important implications for the planning of stroke treatment trials and suggest that various therapies could be directed specifically at the subgroups.
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            Recovery of motor function after stroke.

            The natural history of recovery of motor function after stroke is described using data from a 1-year community-based study in Auckland, New Zealand. Of 680 patients, 88% presented with a hemiparesis; the proportion of survivors with a persisting deficit declined to 71% at 1 month and 62% at 6 months after the onset of the stroke. At onset, there were equal proportions of people with mild, moderate, and severe motor deficits, but the majority (76%) of those who survived 6 months had either no or only a mild deficit. Recovery of motor function was associated with the stroke severity but not with age or sex; patients with a mild motor deficit at onset were 10 times more likely to recover their motor function than those with a severe stroke. Our results confirm the reasonably optimistic outcome for survivors of stroke and further suggest that recovery of motor function is confined to patients whose motor deficit at onset is either mild or moderate.
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              Obesity in South Africa: the South African demographic and health survey.

              To ascertain the anthropometric profile and determinants of obesity in South Africans who participated in the Demographic and Health Survey in 1998. A sample of 13,089 men and women (age, > or =15 years) were randomly selected and then stratified by province and urban and nonurban areas. Height, weight, mid-upper arm circumference, and waist and hip circumference were measured. Body mass index (BMI) was used as an indicator of obesity, and the waist/hip ratio (WHR) was used as an indicator of abdominal obesity. Multivariate regression identified sociodemographic predictors of BMI and waist circumference in the data. Mean BMI values for men and women were 22.9 kg/m(2) and 27.1 kg/m(2), respectively. For men, 29.2% were overweight or obese (> or =25 kg/m(2)) and 9.2% had abdominal obesity (WHR > or =1.0), whereas 56.6% of women were overweight or obese and 42% had abdominal obesity (WHR >0.85). Underweight (BMI <18.5 kg/m(2)) was found in 12.2% of men and 5.6% of women. For men, 19% of the variation of BMI and 34% of the variation in waist circumference could be explained by age, level of education, population group, and area of residence. For women, these variables explained 16% of the variation of BMI and 24% of the variation in waist circumference. Obesity increased with age, and higher levels of obesity were found in urban African women. Overnutrition is prevalent among adult South Africans, particularly women. Determinants of overnutrition include age, level of education, ethnicity, and area of residence.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                29 March 2012
                : 7
                : 3
                [1 ]Department of Neurology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
                [2 ]Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi
                [3 ]Department of Radiology, College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi
                Innsbruck Medical University, Austria
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: TH JK TA. Performed the experiments: TH DC. Analyzed the data: TH SK TA. Wrote the paper: TH JK SK TA.

                Heikinheimo et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 6
                Research Article
                Diagnostic Medicine
                General Pathology
                Infectious Diseases
                Viral Diseases
                Cerebrovascular Diseases



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