January 2011

Two tests in days after stroke predict independent walking 6 months later

In the moment: Rehabilitation

Two simple tests performed within 72 hours of an ischemic stroke can help predict the likelihood of achieving independent gait after six months, according to research from the Netherlands.

In 154 first-ever ischemic stroke patients who were unable to walk independently immediately post-stroke, investigators from Vrije Universiteit Medical Center in Amsterdam found that positive results on two tests was associated with a 98% probability of walking independently six months later. Patients who did not pass both tests in the first 72 hours post-stroke had only a 27% probability of achieving independent gait in six months.

The Trunk Control Test measures the patient’s ability to sit and balance independently on the side of the bed for 30 seconds.  The second test, based on the leg subscale of the Motricity Index, requires visible contraction for all three components (ankle dorsiflexion with foot plantar flexed, knee extension with foot unsupported and knee at 90°, and hip flexion with hip bent at 90° and knee moving toward the chin).

The findings were e-published on Dec. 26 by Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair.

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