Methods: A database and hand search of records from a rural Mississippi chiropractic practice was performed to identify all cases of patients presenting with symptoms and signs of stroke during the past 4 years, as well as stroke mortality among active patients during the same period.
Results: Six subjects met inclusion criteria of about 500 active patients during any given year of the 4-year study period, including patients who had stroke symptoms or signs (n = 4) or who died as a result of stroke without presenting to the office (n = 2). Records and magnetic resonance angiograms were obtained after referral was made for a 77-year-old white female, 71-year-old white male, 59-year-old white male, and 24-year-old Hispanic female. Three of the 4 surviving patients were eventually diagnosed with stroke, and one with seizure disorder. Common presenting complaints were unilateral arm weakness and slurred speech; other complaints included episodic loss of vision, dysphagia, dysphonia, and same-sided leg weakness.
Conclusions: Patients with symptoms and signs of stroke may infrequently present to chiropractic physicians for evaluation and treatment. Prevention, screening, early identification of stroke symptoms and signs, and referral for prompt treatment are cornerstones of the national stroke policy as espoused by the Centers for Disease Control. Chiropractic physicians have opportunities for practice-related health education initiatives focusing on the role of health and wellness in stroke prevention and for prompt lifesaving referral of emergency presentations.
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