Index to Chiropractic Literature
Index to Chiropractic Literature
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ID 21564
  Title A population-based case-series of Ontario patients who develop a vertebrobasilar artery stroke after seeing a chiropractor
URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21237403
Journal J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jan;34(1):15-22
Author(s)
Subject(s)
Peer Review Yes
Publication Type Article
Abstract/Notes Purpose: The current evidence suggests that association between chiropractic care and vertebrobasilar artery (VBA) stroke is not causal. Rather, recent epidemiological studies suggest that it is coincidental and reflects the natural history of the disorder. Because neck pain and headaches are symptoms that commonly precede the onset of a VBA stroke, these patients might seek chiropractic care while their stroke is in evolution. However, very little is known about the characteristics of these patients. In fact, only small clinical case series and physician surveys have described the characteristics of chiropractic patients who later develop a VBA stroke. To date, no population-based study has described this group of patients. Therefore, the objective of our study is to describe the characteristics of Ontario VBA stroke patients who consulted a chiropractor within the year before their stroke.

Methods: We conducted a population-based case series using administrative health care records of all Ontario residents hospitalized with VBA stroke between April 1, 1993, and March 31, 2002. Three databases were deterministically linked to extract the relevant information. We describe the demographic, health care utilization, and comorbidities of VBA patients.

Results: Ninety-three VBA stroke cases consulted a chiropractor during the year before their stroke. The mean age was 57.6 years (SD, 16.1), and 50% were female. Most cases had consulted a medical doctor during the year before their stroke, and 75.3% of patients had at least one cerebrovascular comorbidity. The 3 most common comorbidities were neck pain and headache (prevalence, 66.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 57.0%-76.3%), diseases of the circulatory system (prevalence, 63.4%; 95% CI, 54.8%-74.2%), and diseases of the nervous system and sense organs (prevalence, 47.3%; 95% CI, 38.7%-58.1%).

Conclusions: Our population-based analysis suggests that VBA stroke patients who consulted a chiropractor the year before their stroke are older than previously documented in clinical case series. We did not find that women were more commonly affected than men. Moreover, we found that most patients had at least one cardio- or cerebrovascular comorbidity. Our analysis suggests that relying on case series or surveys of health care professionals may provide a biased view of who develops a VBA stroke.

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