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Neurology. 2013 Jan 15;80(3 Suppl 2):S45-52. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182764c86.

Poststroke spasticity: sequelae and burden on stroke survivors and caregivers.

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The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Among the estimated 20% to 40% of stroke survivors who develop spasticity, the burden of this condition on patients, caregivers, and society is substantial. Stroke survivors with spasticity may experience reductions in their ability to perform activities of daily living and in their health-related quality of life. The occurrence of spasticity in stroke survivors may also result in an increased burden on their caregivers, who exhibit poorer physical and emotional health as compared with the general population. The responsibilities that caregivers have to the stroke survivor--in terms of providing medical care, protecting from falls, and assisting with feeding and hygiene, among other tasks of daily living--must be balanced with their responsibilities to other family members and to themselves. Caregivers of stroke survivors often report a feeling of confinement with little opportunity for relief, and although social support can be helpful, it is frequently limited in its availability. In terms of the socioeconomic burden of spasticity after stroke, recent data point to a 4-fold increase in health care costs associated with stroke survivors with spasticity compared with stroke survivors without spasticity. Thus, it is important to reduce the burden of spasticity after stroke. Consequently, effective spasticity treatment that reduces spasticity and the level of disability experienced by stroke survivors will likely increase their functioning and their health-related quality of life and will also result in a diminished burden on their caregivers.

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