Management of Medical Complications

Carolin I. Dohle, MD; Michael J. Reding, MD Neurorehabilitation p. 510-529 June 2011, Vol.17, No.3 doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000399070.54320.0c
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Medical comorbidities and complications are expected following stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury. The neurorehabilitation physician's role is to manage these comorbidities, prevent complications, and serve as a medical and neurologic resource for the patient, family, and neurorehabilitation team. The most common comorbidities are similar to those found in the general population, namely hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, and ischemic heart disease. Frequent complications encountered in the neurorehabilitation unit relate to medication side effects, medical comorbidities, and the direct effect of the neurologic injury. They include orthostatic hypotension; syncope or presyncope; cardiac arrhythmia; bowel and bladder dysfunction; seizures; pressure sores; dysphagia-related pneumonia, dehydration, and malnutrition; venous thromboembolism; falls; and sexual dysfunction. This article discusses strategies for managing comorbidities and avoiding complications.

Address correspondence to Dr Carolin I. Dohle, Burke Rehabilitation Center, 785 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605, [email protected].

Relationship Disclosure: Dr Dohle and Dr Reding report no disclosure.

Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Dr Dohle and Dr Reding report no disclosure.

© 2011 American Academy of Neurology