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Disabil Rehabil. 2003 Aug 5;25(15):817-22.

People with stroke living in the community: Attention deficits, balance, ADL ability and falls.

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Health and Rehabilitation Research Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.



To describe levels of attention deficits among people with stroke living in the community and explore relationships between attention, balance, function and falls.


Forty-eight mobile community-dwelling people with stroke (30 men, 18 women, mean age 68.4 +/- 11.2) were recruited to this cross-sectional investigation through General Practitioners. Twenty-six participants had a right, 21 a left hemisphere infarction and one had a brain stem lesion; mean time since stroke was 46 months (range five to 204). Participants' were interviewed about fall-events; attention, balance and function were assessed using standardised tests.


Visual inattention was identified in five participants (10%), deficits of sustained attention in 15 (31%), auditory selective attention in nine (19%), visual selective attention in 17 (35%) and divided attention deficits in 21 participants (43%). Sustained and divided attention scores correlated with balance, ADL ability and fall-status (p < 0.01). The balance and function of subjects with normal attention were better than those with abnormal scores (p < 0.01). Analysis of variance revealed differences between repeat-fallers and non-fallers with no near-falls for divided attention, balance and ADL ability (p < 0.01).


Attention deficits were common among this sample; sustained and divided attention deficits correlated with functional impairments and falls, highlighting that attention deficits might contribute to accident prone behaviour and falling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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