The Prevalence of Multiple Comorbidities in Stroke Survivors in Rural Appalachia and the Clinical Care Implications

Patrick H. Kitzman, Kathleen M. Sutton, Marc Wolfe, Lisa Bellamy, Michael R. Dobbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The majority of studies on multimorbidity have been in aging populations and there is a paucity of data on individuals following stroke. Objective: In order to better understand the overall complexity of the stroke population in rural Kentucky, we examined the prevalence of multimorbidity that impact the overall long-term health and health care for these individuals. Methods: A secondary analysis examined whether there are gender or age differences in this stroke population related to the prevalence of multimorbidity. A total of 5325 individuals, 18 years of age and older, seen at an academic medical center for the primary diagnosis of acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack between the years of 2010-2017 were identified using the Kentucky Appalachian Stroke Registry. Descriptive analysis was used to report the prevalence of each comorbidity in the rural population by age group, gender, and level of multimorbidity by looking at concurrent frequencies. Results: Overall, hypertension, dyslipidemia, tobacco use, diabetes, and obesity were the comorbidities with the highest prevalence in our population irrespective of gender. Over 78% (n = 4153) of the individuals had 3 or more comorbidities while 61% (n = 3285) had at least 3 out of the top 5 comorbidities (hypertension, hyperlipidemia, tobacco, obesity, diabetes). With respect to age, 15% (n = 795) of the sample was under the age of 50, while 32% (n = 1704) were between the age of 50 and 64 and 53% (n = 2826) of the sample were 65 years or older. Conclusions: The results of this study indicate the majority of individuals affected by stroke in rural Appalachia Kentucky have multimorbidity. In addition, almost half of these individuals are having their strokes at a younger age, which will require a shift in the focus for therapeutic interventions (eg, reintegration into the workforce versus just community reintegration).

Original languageEnglish
Article number104358
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Multimorbidity
  • chronic disease
  • rural
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'The Prevalence of Multiple Comorbidities in Stroke Survivors in Rural Appalachia and the Clinical Care Implications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this