Morbidity and mortality among homeless people with cardiovascular diseases and stroke in the United States is high. Adverse outcomes within the homeless population may be the result of seeking care too late to receive time-sensitive interventions. We sought to investigate the impact of homelessness on ischemic stroke patients who received intravenous thrombolysis (IVT).
We determined rates of post-thrombolytic intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), in-hospital death, and development of moderate to severe disability among homeless ischemic stroke patients treated with IVT. Patients were identified using the Nationwide (National) Inpatient Sample between 2002 and 2017. We compared rates of the various outcomes to non-homeless ischemic stroke patients treated with IVT.
There were 514 homeless (mean age 54.7 ± 10.2 years, 20.4% women) and 364,408 non-homeless (mean age 68.6 ± 14.7 years, 49.7% women) ischemic stroke patients who received IVT. There was no difference in post-thrombolytic ICH rates between the two groups (6.6% homeless versus 8.8% non-homeless, p = 0.09). Homeless patients were more frequently discharged to self-care (p = 0.003). Homeless patients were less likely than non-homeless patients to suffer in-hospital death (AOR 0.499 [95% CI 0.30-0.84], p = 0.009) and moderate to severe disability (AOR 0.423 [95% CI 0.29 – 0.62], p < 0.001).
Homeless ischemic stroke patients who receive IVT are not at an increased risk of developing post-thrombolytic ICH or in-hospital death. Efforts are needed to encourage this unique population to seek medical attention as soon as possible for time-sensitive interventions that may decrease the risk of permanent disability or death associated with ischemic stroke.

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