For outcome assessment in patients surviving subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), the modified Rankin scale (mRS) represents the mostly established outcome tool, whereas other dimensions of outcome such as mood disorders and impairments in social life remain unattended so far.
The aim of our study was to correlate 12-month functional and subjective health outcomes in SAH survivors.
All SAH patients treated over a 5-year period received outcome assessment at 12 months, including functional scores (mRS and Barthel Index [BI]), subjective health measurement (EQ-5D), and whether they returned to work. Analyses – including utility-weighted mRS – were conducted to detect associations and correlations among different outcome measures, especially in patients achieving good functional outcome (i.e., mRS 0-2) at 12 months.
Of 351 SAH survivors, 287 (81.2%) achieved favorable functional outcome at 12 months. Contrary to the BI, the EQ-5D visual analog scale (VAS) showed a strong association with different mRS grades, accentuated in patients with favorable functional outcome. Despite favorable functional outcome, patients reported a high rate of impairments in activities (24.0%), pain (33.4%), and anxiety/depression (42.5%). Further, multivariable analysis revealed (i) impairments in activities (odds ratio [OR] [95% confidence interval {CI}]: 0.872 [0.817-0.930]), (ii) presence of depression or anxiety (OR [95% CI]: 0.836 [0.760-0.920]), and (iii) return to work (OR [95% CI]: 1.102 [0.1.013-1.198]) to be independently associated with self-reported subjective health.
Established stroke scores mainly focusing on functional outcomes do poorly reflect the high rate of subjective impairments reported in SAH survivors, specifically in those achieving good functional outcome. Further studies are needed to investigate whether psychoeducational approaches aiming at improving coping mechanisms and perceived self-efficacy may result in higher subjective health in these patients.

© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.