Microalbuminuria indicates long-term vascular risk in patients after acute stroke undergoing in-patient rehabilitation.
Patients in neurologic in-patient rehabilitation are at risk of cardio- and cerebrovascular events. Microalbuminuria (MAU) is frequent and an important risk predictor but has not been validated in in-patient rehabilitation. We therefore aimed to examine MAU as an indicator of risk and predictor of vascular events in a prospective study.The INSIGHT (INvestigation of patients with ischemic Stroke In neuroloGic reHabiliTation) registry is the first to provide large scale data on 1,167 patients with acute stroke (< 3 months) that survived the initial phase of high risk and were undergoing neurologic in-patient rehabilitation. MAU was determined by dipstick-testing and correlated to baseline clinical variables (stroke-origin, functional impairment, co-morbidity, ankle-brachial-index, intima-media-thickeness) as well as vascular events after one year of follow-up. Comparisons were made with the ?2 or Mann-Whitney-U Test. Relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using log-binominal models. To evaluate the association between MAU and new vascular events as well as mortality, we calculated hazard ratios (HR) using Cox proportional hazard regression.A substantial proportion of patients was MAU positive at baseline (33.1%). Upon univariate analysis these patients were about 4 years older (69 vs. 65 years; p< 0.0001), had a slightly higher body mass index (27.8 vs. 27.1 kg/m2; p = 0.03) and increased waist circumference (79.5 vs. 50.4% for women [p< 0.0001] and 46.8 vs. 43.2% for men [p = 0.04]) and twice as often had diabetes mellitus (41.8 vs. 20.1%; p< 0.0001). Patients with MAU had a similar NIH stroke scale score (median 3 vs. 3; p = 0.379) but had lower values on the Barthel Index (median 75 vs. 90; p< 0.001). They had higher rates of atrial fibrillation (RR 1.38; 95% CI 1.09-1.75), coronary artery disease (RR 1.54; 95% CI 1.18-2.00), heart failure (RR 1.70; 95% CI 1.10-2.60) symptomatic peripheral artery disease (RR 2.30; 95% CI 1.40-3.80) and atherosclerotic stroke etiology (53.7 vs. 35.4%; p< 0.0001). MAU was associated with an increased intima-media-thickness, decreased ankle-brachial-index and polyvascular disease (RR 1.56; 95%CI 1.31-1.99). The event rate after a median follow-up of 13 months was 6.7% for fatal or nonfatal stroke, 4.7% for death, and 10.9% for combined vascular events (stroke, MI, vascular death). The presence of MAU was predictive for vascular events during the following year (HR for total mortality 2.2; 95% CI 1.3-3.7; HR for cardiovascular events 2.3; 95% 1.2 - 4.4).INSIGHT demonstrated a significant association between MAU and polyvascular disease and further supports previous findings that MAU predicts cardio-/cerebrovascular events in patients recovering from ischemic stroke. This biomarker may also be used in patients during neurologic in-patient rehabilitation, opening a window of opportunity for early intervention in this patient group at increased risk for recurrent events.