Post-stroke fatigue and return to work: a 2-year follow-up

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Andersen G, Christensen D, Kirkevold M, Johnsen SP. Post-stroke fatigue and return to work: a 2-year follow-up. Acta Neurol Scand: 2012: 125: 248–253. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Background –

Post-stroke fatigue may affect the ability to return to work but quantitative studies are lacking.

Method –

We included 83 first-ever stroke patients <60 years and employed either full-time (n = 77) or part-time (n = 6) at baseline. The patients were recruited from stroke units at Aarhus University Hospital between 2003 and 2005 and were followed for 2 years. Fatigue was assessed by the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory. Pathological fatigue was defined as a score ≥12 on the General Fatigue dimension. Return to paid work was defined as working at least 10 h per week. Data were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression.

Results –

A total of 58% of patients had returned to paid work after 2 years. The adjusted Odds Ratio (OR) for returning to paid work was 0.39 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.16–1.08) for patients with a General Fatigue score ≥12 at baseline. Persisting pathological fatigue after 2 years of follow-up was associated with a lower chance of returning to paid work [adjusted OR 0.29 (95% CI 0.11–0.74)]. Higher scores of General Fatigue at follow-up also correlated negatively with the chance of returning to paid work when analyzing fatigue on a continuous scale (adjusted OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.80–0.94 for each point increase in General Fatigue).

Conclusions –

Post-stroke fatigue appears to be an independent determinant of not being able to resume paid work following stroke.

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