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Clin Rehabil. 2003 Mar;17(2):119-29.

Prognostic factors for ambulation and activities of daily living in the subacute phase after stroke. A systematic review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



To identify evidence-based prognostic factors in the subacute phase after stroke for activities of daily living (ADL) and ambulation at six months to one year after stroke.


Systematic literature search designed in accordance with the Cochrane Collaboration criteria with the following data sources: (1) MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Current Contents, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Psyclit, and Sociological Abstracts. (2) Reference lists, personal archives, and consultation of experts. (3) Guidelines.


Inclusion criteria were: (1) cohort studies of patients with an ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke; (2) inception cohort with assessment of prognostic factors within the first two weeks after stroke; (3) outcome measures for ADL and ambulation; and (4) a follow-up of six months to one year. Internal, statistical and external validity of the studies were assessed using a checklist with 11 methodological criteria in accordance with the recommendations of the Cochrane Collaboration.


From 1,027 potentially relevant studies 26 studies involving a total of 7,850 patients met the inclusion criteria. Incontinence for urine is the only prognostic factor identified in three studies with a level A (i.e., a good level of scientific evidence according to the methodological score). The following factors were found in one level A study: initial ADL disability and ambulation, high age, severe paresis or paralysis, impaired swallowing, ideomotor apraxia, ideational apraxia, and visuospatial construction problems; as well as factors relating to complications of an ischaemic stroke, such as extraparenchymal bleeding, cerebral oedema and size of intraparenchymal haemorrhage.


The present evidence concerning possible predictors in the subacute stage of stroke has insufficient quality to make an evidence-based prediction of ADL and ambulation after stroke because only one prognostic factor was demonstrated in at least two level A studies, our cut-off for sufficient scientific evidence.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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