Long-term mortality, disability and stroke recurrence in patients with basilar artery occlusion

M. A. Hawkes, E. Blaginykh, M. W. Ruff, T. Burrus, E. F.M. Wijdicks, A. A. Rabinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: The long-term outcomes and stroke recurrence after basilar artery occlusion (BAO) are largely unknown. We aimed to assess these variables in a comparatively large series of consecutive patients. Methods: Adults with acute BAO were retrospectively identified from 1976 to 2011. Post-discharge records were reviewed to assess for stroke recurrences, mortality and disability. Exploratory analysis of survival was carried out using Kaplan–Meier and log-rank tests. Factors associated with survival time were determined using Cox models. Results: A total of 86 patients (34% female, median age 72 [interquartile range (IQR), 60–79] years) with a median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of 11 (IQR, 6–27) were included. Twenty-nine patients (34%) died during the initial hospitalization. Median modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at discharge among survivors was 4 (IQR, 2.5–5.5). At 1 and 5 years, 70% of survivors ad a mRS ≤3. Seventeen patients had recurrent strokes during the hospitalization and 12 patients had 19 recurrent strokes after discharge. The median survival time was 52 days (IQR, 6–1846). Older age per decade on admission [adjusted hazard ratios (aHR), 1.32; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.05–1.66, P = 0.02] and a higher mRS at discharge (aHR, 4.48; 95% CI, 2.72–7.39, P < 0.0001) were associated with mortality. Patients who were not treated with any reperfusion therapy had a trend towards reduced mortality (aHR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.14–1.08, P = 0.07). Conclusions: Survivors from BAO had severe short-term functional disability. Most deaths and stroke recurrences occurred within the first year following the initial event. The risk of death was higher in older and more disabled survivors. However, favorable long-term recovery was possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-585
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • basilar artery occlusion
  • ischaemic stroke
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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