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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2000 Dec;81(12):1541-6.

Domains and determinants of quality of life after stroke caused by brain infarction.

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Department of Neurology, University of Oulu, Finland.



To evaluate the domain-specific quality of life (QOL), including physical, social and role functioning, mental health, vitality, bodily pain, and general health domains, and to assess QOL's clinical and sociodemographic correlates in patients who were disabled by ischemic stroke.


One-year prospective study of an inception cohort of patients with first-ever brain infarction.


Stroke unit of a neurologic department of a university hospital.


Eighty-five consecutive patients (36 women, 49 men; mean age +/- SD, 65+/-12.5 yr) with first-ever stroke of a mild to moderate nature caused by brain infarction.


Patients were examined at 3 and 12 months poststroke. QOL was measured using the RAND 36-Item Health Survey. The variables studied were lateralization of cerebral lesion, neurologic and functional status, depression, age, gender, marital status, and living conditions. Depression was evaluated according to the criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revised Third Edition. Neurologic impairment was assessed by Scandinavian Stroke Scale, performance in activities of daily living by the Barthel index, and the intellectual deterioration by the Mini-Mental State Examination.


QOL was poorer for the patients with mild to moderate stroke impairments at 3 months poststroke. The test domains most prone to being affected were physical functioning, physical role limitations, vitality, and general health. Only the domains of physical functioning and physical role limitations improved during the follow-up at 1 year. Depression, although mostly minor, was the most important reason for impaired QOL. Depression, being married, and age emerged as significant independent contributors to the low score value of vitality. Depression and being married were related to the low score value of physical role limitations.


Stroke affects QOL, impairing its physical and psychosocial domains. The most important determinants of low QOL seem to be depression and being married. These findings provide new challenges for stroke rehabilitation, calling for identification of patients and spouses in need of supportive services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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