A Novel Scale for Assessment of Stroke Severity at Symptom Onset: Correlation With Neurological Deterioration and Outcome

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Objective: To propose a novel scale for the assessment of stroke severity at symptom onset and to investigate whether it is associated with ultra-early neurological deterioration (UND) and functional outcomes.

Methods: The Chongqing Stroke Scale (CQSS) was constructed based on key aspects of history, emphasizing language, motor function, and level of consciousness to yield a total 0–11 scale. The diagnostic performance of the CQSS was assessed in 215 ischemic stroke patients between June 2017 and October 2017 in a tertiary hospital. Patients were included if they presented within 24 h after onset of symptoms and they or their witness can recall the scenario at symptom onset. UND was defined as an increase ≥2 points on the CQSS between symptom onset and admission. Functional outcomes were assessed using the 3-month modified Rankin scale. The correlation between the CQSS score and baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score was assessed. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of CQSS for the outcomes were calculated. Logistic regression was used to test the association between the CQSS score and functional outcomes.

Results: A total of 215 patients with available CQSS scores were included. Baseline CQSS scores at symptom onset were correlated with the admission NIHSS score (r = 0.56, p < 0.001) and functional outcome at 3 months (r = 0.47, p < 0.001). Baseline CQSS ≥ 6 was an independent predictor of functional outcome at 3 months (odds ratio, 12.61; 95% confidence interval 5.68–27.97, p < 0.001). UND was observed in 20 (9.30%) patients. The 90-day mortality was significantly higher in patients with UND than those without UND (25.0 vs. 8.2%, p < 0.001). After adjusting for age, admission systolic blood pressure, hypertension, and diabetes, UND independently predicted poor functional outcome in the multivariate logistic regression model (odds ratio, 9.69; 95% confidence interval 3.19–29.45, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The newly developed CQSS is a simple and easy-to-perform scale that allows a quantitative evaluation of the stroke severity at symptom onset and an assessment of UND before hospital admission. It is associated with NIHSS and predicts functional outcome in patients with acute ischemic stroke.

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