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Cerebrovasc Dis Extra. 2012 Jan;2(1):17-23. doi: 10.1159/000337016. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Diagnosis and rehabilitation of visual field defects in stroke patients: a retrospective audit.

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1
Institute for Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Visual field defects (VFD) after stroke can cause significant disability and reduction in quality of life. Adequate diagnosis of VFD and referral to visual rehabilitation are important to improve outcome. Our aim was to conduct a retrospective clinical audit to investigate how neurologists detect and follow up VFD in stroke patients in a university hospital in Norway.

METHODS:

All patients registered in the Bergen NORSTROKE Registry from February 2006 to May 2009 with (1) occipital lobe infarctions and (2) non-occipital infarction and clinically detected VFD were included in the study. Their medical records were reviewed for referral to perimetry for examination of VFD and for referral to a visual rehabilitation program within the first year after brain injury.

RESULTS:

Of 353 patients, 34 (9.6%) were referred to perimetry and 8 (2.3%) to visual rehabilitation. Patients referred to perimetry were younger (65.1 vs. 74.7 years, p < 0.001), had lower modified Rankin Scale scores (2.53 vs. 3.47, p = 0.003), and scored lower on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale upon admission (6.68 vs. 13.90, p < 0.001). Men were more often referred to perimetry than women (73.5 vs. 26.5%, p < 0.001), and those referred were younger (61.2 vs. 75.8 years, p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS:

Only few patients were referred to perimetry, and even fewer were offered visual rehabilitation. Age and gender were negative predictors for referral. Neurologists' awareness of the significant disability related to VFD must be increased. Focused diagnostics on visual impairment and early referral to a visual rehabilitation program should be mandatory in stroke unit services.

KEYWORDS:

Brain injury; Disability; Visual field defect; Visual rehabilitation

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