Recovery of functional status after stroke. A postrehabilitation follow-up study.
Information on predictors of long-term change in functional capacity after a rehabilitation program in stroke patients is scant. This study describes the long-term evolution of self-reported functional ability after discharge from rehabilitation and its relation with age, level of neural impairment at discharge, and changes in neural impairment during follow-up.
Fifty patients (31 men and 19 women; mean +/- SD age, 66.0 +/- 9.9 years; range, 47-86 years) with a first unilateral stroke and no severe cognitive impairment were consecutively enrolled. Self-reported disability in activities of daily living and neural impairment measured by the Fugl-Meyer Scale were evaluated after discharge from a rehabilitation program and 3 and 6 months later.
Functional disability was significantly reduced after 3 and 6 months. Attenuation of disability occurred mainly among those patients with more severe baseline neural impairment. In this group, patients aged > or = 65 years were more disabled at baseline than younger individuals, but they had the same rate of improvement. In patients aged < 65 years, changes in disability over time could be attributed to changes in neural function, whereas older patients' functional recovery was greater than that expected from their improvement in neural impairment alone.
These results suggest that in stroke patients with severe neural damage further functional improvement occurs even after completion of a rehabilitation program. There is evidence that older patients may be more likely to employ compensatory strategies to overcome some of the neural impairment that remains after stroke.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association