Quality of Life After Stroke: The North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study (NEMESIS)
Sturm, J and Donnan, GA and Dewey, HM and Macdonell, RAL and Gilligan, V and Srikanth, V and Thrift, AG, Quality of Life After Stroke: The North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study (NEMESIS), Stroke, 35, (10) pp. 2340-2345. ISSN 0039-2499 (2004) [Refereed Article]
Background and Purpose - Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) data are scarce from unselected populations. The aims were to assess HRQoL at 2 years poststroke, to identify determinants of HRQoL in stroke survivors, and to identify predictors at stroke onset of subsequent HRQoL. Methods - All first-ever cases of stroke in a population of 306 631 over a 1-year period were assessed. Stroke severity, comorbidity, and demographic information were recorded. Two-year poststroke HRQoL was assessed using the Assessment of Quality of Life (AQoL) instrument (deceased patients score=0). Handicap, disability, physical impairment, depression, anxiety, living arrangements, and recurrent stroke at 2 years were documented. If necessary, proxy assessments were obtained, except for mood. Linear regression analyses were performed to identify factors independently associated with HRQoL. Results - Of 266 incident cases alive at 2 years, 225 (85%) were assessed. The mean AQoL utility score for all survivors was 0.47 (95% CI, 0.42 to 0.52). Almost 25% of survivors had a score of ≤0.1. The independent determinants of HRQoL in survivors were handicap, physical impairment, anxiety and depression, disability, institutionalization, dementia, and age. The factors present at stroke onset that independently predicted HRQoL at 2 years poststroke were age, female sex, initial NIHSS score, neglect, and low socioeconomic status. Conclusions - A substantial proportion of stroke survivors have very poor HRQoL. Interventions targeting handicap and mood have the potential to improve HRQoL independently of physical impairment and disability.