: Individuals participating in stroke rehabilitation are in jeopardy of future vascular events, including a second stroke. Nevertheless, vascular risk assessment is often overlooked in this population. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) may be a useful construct for risk assessment because of its predictive ability in distinguishing patients who are at high risk of future morbidity. This study documented the prevalence of MetS and its components in stroke rehabilitation patients. In addition, clinical characteristics of subgroups with and without MetS were compared.
: Health records of 200 adult patients who had participated in inpatient stroke rehabilitation were reviewed. The prevalence and extent of clustering of the five components of MetS-obesity, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and insulin resistance-were examined.
: Of the total sample, 61% had MetS and 97% had at least one MetS component, with hypertension and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol being the most prevalent. The number of comorbidities, number of prescription drugs, and history of coronary heart disease were positively related to the presence of MetS. The components were predicted by a single underlying factor, providing support for the validity of using the MetS construct to assess vascular risk in this population.
: Awareness of the high prevalence of MetS in individuals undergoing stroke rehabilitation should motivate physical therapists and other rehabilitation clinicians to intervene to prevent the recurrence of vascular events. Early screening for this high-risk condition and implementation of targeted interventions to reduce future vascular morbidity should become priorities in stroke rehabilitation.