This study determines whether acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an independent risk factor for an increased risk of post-traumatic brain injury (TBI) stroke during 3-month, 1-year, and 5-year follow-ups, respectively, after adjusting for other covariates. Clinical data for the analysis were from the National Health Insurance Database 2000, which covered a total of 2121 TBI patients and 101 patients with a diagnosis of TBI complicated with ARDS (TBI-ARDS) hospitalized between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2005. Each patient was tracked for 5 years to record stroke occurrences after discharge from the hospital. The prognostic value of TBI-ARDS was evaluated using a multivariate Cox proportional hazard model. The main outcome found that stroke occurred in nearly 40% of patients with TBI-ARDS, and the hazard ratio for post-TBI stroke increased fourfold during the 5-year follow-up period after adjusting for other covariates. The increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke in the ARDS group was considerably higher than in the TBI-only cohort. This is the first study to report that post-traumatic ARDS yielded an approximate fourfold increased risk of stroke in TBI-only patients. We suggest intensive and appropriate medical management and intensive follow-up of TBI-ARDS patients during the beginning of the hospital discharge.
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