In a prospective study to analyse stroke topography and outcome in diabetics and to determine the prognostic value of blood glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin estimation, we evaluated 176 patients with acute stroke. The patients were classified into four groups on the basis of history, fasting glucose, and glycosylated haemoglobin: euglycaemic patients with no history of diabetes, stress hyperglycaemia, newly diagnosed diabetics, and known diabetics. A high prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes was shown. No difference was found in the type or site of stroke between the four groups. No difference was found in the site of symptomatic or incidental lesions on computerised axial tomography. Patients with stress hyperglycaemia and known diabetics had more severe strokes. Mortality was higher in patients with stress hyperglycaemia, newly diagnosed diabetics, and the combined diabetes groups. This increased mortality was evident in the hyperglycaemic and diabetic groups, even after excluding patients with cerebral haemorrhage. Stroke severity and mortality also increased independently with blood glucose in the euglycaemic group. We conclude that there is a correlation between admission glucose concentration, diabetes, and poor stroke outcome, which may not be attributed to stroke type or location.
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