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We sought to compare health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in young adults with ischemic stroke on long-term follow-up with controls and to evaluate HRQoL in clinically relevant patient subgroups.HRQoL was determined with the use of the 8 subscales of the Short-Form General Health Survey (SF-36). Subgroups of patients were defined by sex, age, functional status (modified Rankin Scale), marital status, education, depression (Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale), and fatigue (Fatigue Severity Scale). SF-36 scores among patients were compared with SF-36 scores among age- and sex-matched controls and SF-36 scores available from the general Norwegian population.SF-36 scores were obtained after a mean follow-up of 6.0 years among 190 young adults with ischemic stroke during 1988–1997 and among 215 responding controls (55%). The difference in HRQoL between patients, controls, and the general Norwegian population was restricted mainly to the 3 subscales physical functioning, general health, and social functioning (P<0.001). Subgroup analysis showed significantly reduced scores for all SF-36 items among patients who were depressed, suffered from fatigue, or unemployed. Linear regression analysis showed that fatigue and depression were major independent variables correlated with low HRQoL.Compared with controls and the general Norwegian population, low level of HRQoL among young adults with ischemic stroke was most pronounced in regard to physical functioning. Early identification and treatment of depression, fatigue, and physical disability may potentially improve HRQoL among stroke patients.