DOI: 10.1161/str.55.suppl_1.wp280 ISSN: 0039-2499

Abstract WP280: Health and Functional Ability of Veterans and Non-Veterans With Stroke: An Analysis of the 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Michael J Lyerly, Linda Williams
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neurology (clinical)

Introduction: Veterans represent a unique population who may be at higher risk of developing stroke. The association between Veteran status and stroke and associated outcomes have not been well described.

Methods: We performed a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of the 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Participants were stratified based on Veteran status. Demographics, social factors, and vascular risk factors were compared between the two groups. Logistical regression models were created to explore the association between Veteran status and stroke. Health and functional limitations were also compared between Veterans and Non-Veterans with stroke.

Results: We identified 52,518 Veterans and 382,958 Non-Veterans. Veterans more often self-reported a history of stroke compared to non-veterans (6.2% vs. 3.6%, p<0.001). Veterans more often reported a history of diabetes, tobacco use, and obesity. After adjusting for demographic, social and vascular factors, Veterans remained at a higher odds of having a history of stroke (OR 1.26 [95% CI 1.20-1.33], 1.22 weighted, Table). Veterans and Non-Veterans with a history of stroke report similar self-reported measures of health and functional status although Veterans may have more difficulty with ambulation.

Conclusions: Using a sample not limited to the Veterans Health Administration, we observed higher rates of self-reported stroke among Veterans compared to Non-Veterans which is not fully explained by differences in their demographics, social factors, or vascular health history. Despite this, Veterans with stroke appear to have similar overall health and functional abilities compared to non-Veterans.

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