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Neurol Clin Pract. 2018 Feb;8(1):21-26. doi: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000419.

Pilot study of volume contracted state and hospital outcome after stroke.

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Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.



An increasing body of research suggests that acute stroke patients who are dehydrated may have worsened functional outcomes. We sought to explore the relationship between a volume contracted state (VCS) at the time of ischemic stroke and hospital outcomes as compared with euvolemic patients.


We enrolled a consecutive series of ischemic stroke patients from a single academic stroke center within 12 hours from stroke onset. VCS was defined via surrogate markers (blood urea nitrogen/creatinine ratio >15 and urine specific gravity >1.010). The primary outcome was change in NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score from admission to discharge. Multivariable analyses included adjustment for demographics and infarct size.


Over an 11-month study period, 168 patients were eligible for inclusion. Of the126 with complete laboratory and MRI data, 44% were in a VCS at the time of admission. Demographics were similar in both the VCS and euvolemic groups, as were baseline NIHSS scores (6.7 vs 7.3; p = 0.63) and infarct volumes (12 vs 16 mL; p = 0.48). However, 42% of patients in a VCS demonstrated early clinical worsening, compared with 17% of the euvolemic group (p = 0.02). A VCS remained a significant predictor of worsening NIHSS in adjusted models (odds ratio 4.34; 95% confidence interval 1.75-10.76).


Acute stroke patients in a VCS demonstrate worse short-term outcomes compared to euvolemic patients, independent of infarct size. Results suggest an opportunity to explore current hydration practices.

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