A practical stroke severity scale predicts hospital outcomes

Patrick S. Reynolds, Cheryl T. Crenshaw, David S. Lefkowitz, Brent J. Shelton, John S. Preisser, Charles H. Tegeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Goal: To develop a practical severity scale (Wake Forest Stroke Severity Scale [WFSSS]) to predict acute hospital outcomes and resource use after acute ischemic stroke based on the admission neurologic exam. Background: A useful scheme enabling physicians and other health care providers to stratify stroke severity on admission to predict acute hospital outcomes and improve efficiency of inpatient care has not been described. Methods: The study subjects consisted of 271 consecutive acute stroke patients admitted to the neurology department from July 1995 to June 1996 who were prospectively examined and whose stroke severity was classified on the basis of admission neurologic exam (level of consciousness, strength, dysphasia, neglect, and gait) as mild, moderate, or severe, based on the WFSSS. National Institutes of Health stroke scale (NIHSS) was performed early in admission (70% within 24 hours). Discharge disposition (home, inpatient rehabilitation [rehab], skilled nursing facility [SNF], or death); length of stay (LOS); and hospital charges were associated with initial stroke severity ratings using chisquare and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Results: Fifty-percent (136) of strokes were classified as mild, 22% (60) as moderate, and 28% (75) as severe. Initial severity ratings were significantly related to discharge disposition, LOS, and hospital charges (all P values <.001). Conclusions: A practical clinical severity scale (WFSSS) for acute ischemic stroke patients based on admission neurologic examination predicts hospital disposition, LOS, and hospital charges, and may allow more accurate severity-adjusted comparisons among institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-235
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Acute ischemic stroke
  • Outcomes
  • Severity scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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