Suicidal Ideation Higher Among Stroke Survivors Than Among Those With History of Cancer

Suicidal ideation among stroke survivors (7.8%) was higher than among those with a history of MI (6.2%), diabetes (5.2%), and cancer (4.1%).

One in 12 adult stroke survivors in the United States claimed to have had thoughts of suicide within the 2-week period preceding their response to the broad-based Patient Health Questionnaire, according to data presented last week at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013. The prevalence of suicidal ideation (SI) among adults 20 years or older with a self-reported history of stroke was 7.8%, higher than SI reported by individuals with a history of myocardial infarction (6.2%), diabetes (5.2%), or cancer (4.1%).

Individuals responding to the questionnaire were participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, from 2005 to 2010. Nearly 6 million US adults reported a history of stroke during that period.

Statistical modeling found that the following variables predicted SI among stroke survivors with 74% sensitivity and 81% specificity (overall accuracy of 80%) in decreasing order of importance: depression score, age, BMI, education level, income to poverty ratio, female sex, and marital status.  The results suggest that screening for SI may be warranted during routine assessment of stroke patients.

The results were presented in a poster session at the annual stroke meeting and the full poster information is available here.