Predicting the Disability of First-Time Stroke Sufferers at 1 Year: 12-Month Follow-up of a Population-Based Cohort in Southeast England

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Background and Purpose

The purpose of this study was to predict the functional outcome at 1 year of first-time stroke patients aged younger than 75 years in relation to the severity of stroke and demographic characteristics.


Population registers in three districts of southeast England were established in August 1989, with notification by stroke registry field-workers, general practitioners, and rehabilitation practitioners. Assessments were made using the Barthel index for activities of daily living at the time of maximum impairment and at 3 and 12 months after the stroke.


Of 639 registered stroke patients, 392 without previous disability survived and were assessed for disability at 3 months, of whom 34 (9%) were severely disabled and 60 (15%) moderately disabled. Initial incontinence was the best single predictor of disability with a sensitivity of 60% and a specificity of 78%. Two hundred twenty-five patients (35%) were eligible for 12-month follow-up; 11% had moderate or severe disability, for which initial incontinence was the best predictor.


There is no evidence from this study of an association between demographic characteristics and the disability status of stroke survivors in the medium term. Multi-variable predictors of disability had little advantage over incontinence within 24 hours of the stroke. The estimates of the prevalence of disability from this large population-based study are relevant when assessing the medium-term needs of stroke patients. (Stroke. 1994;25:352-357.)

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