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Stroke. 1988 Nov;19(11):1354-8.

Rehabilitation outcome following initial unilateral hemispheric stroke. Life table analysis approach.

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Cornell University Medical College, Burke Rehabilitation Center, White Plains, New York 10605.


Life table analysis is a powerful statistical tool that has become the preferred technique for studying both the natural history of and the effect of treatment on disease outcome. We have found only one report using life table analysis to study rehabilitation outcome after stroke. We assessed the recovery of both independent ambulation and overall self-care function in 95 consecutive patients with unilateral hemispheric stroke using life table analysis. Our results support the segregation of patients into the following prognostic subgroups at the time of entry into the rehabilitation program (mean +/- SD 5 +/- 3 weeks after stroke): 1) motor deficit only, 2) motor deficit plus somatic sensory deficit, and 3) motor deficit plus somatic sensory deficit plus homonymous visual deficit. The probabilities of reaching independence in ambulation, being able to walk 150 feet with assistance, reaching independence in self-care function, and reaching a point of assisted self care (Barthel Index score of greater than or equal to 60) are highly significantly different among subgroups. The interval after stroke required to reach the plateau phase of recovery is also significantly different among subgroups. We propose that life table analysis can be used 1) to define patient outcome goals, 2) to define the time required to reach such goals, 3) to identify patients with medical or behavioral comorbidity who are functioning below their expected level, and 4) to assess the effect of alternative treatment regimens on both final outcome and time to reach that outcome.

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