New-onset fecal incontinence after stroke - Prevalence, natural history, risk factors, and impact

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Background and Purpose-Fecal incontinence (171) is a common complication after stroke, yet epidemiological research into this distressing condition is limited. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence, natural history, associations, and impact of new-onset FI after stroke. Methods-Stroke patients in the community-based South London Stroke Register (January 1995 to 2000) without preexisting FI were characterized regarding bowel continence at 7 to 10 days, 3 months, and 1 and 3 years after stroke. FI was defined as any degree of bowel leakage. Results-Prevalence of poststroke FI was 30% (7 to 10 days), 11% (3 months), 11% (1 year), and 15% (3 years). One third of patients with FI at 3 months were continent by 1 year; conversely, 63% incontinent at 1 year had been continent at 3 months. Characteristics of 91 patients with FI and 755 without FI at 3 months were compared using multiple logistic regression. Acute stroke associations of neglect (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.9; 95% CI, 1.0 to 3.5) and initial urinary incontinence (OR, 6.2; 95% CI, 3.2 to 11.9) were no longer significant after adjustment for clinical factors at 3 months. Final independent associations were anticholinergic drug use (OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.1 to 10.2) and needing help with toilet use (OR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.4 to 17.3). FI at 3 months increased the risk of long-term placement (28% vs 6%) and death within 1 year (20% vs 8%). Conclusions-New-onset FI in stroke survivors is common but may be transient. Modifiable risk factors for FI 3 months after stroke are constipating drug use and difficulty with toilet access, raising implications for developing treatment and prevention strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144 - 150
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


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