Does age predict outcome in stroke rehabilitation? A study of 878 Chinese subjects

Cerebrovasc Dis. 2006;21(4):229-34. doi: 10.1159/000091219. Epub 2006 Jan 27.


Background: The predicting value of age on stroke rehabilitation has been controversial. There is a lack of large-scale studies in the Chinese population to examine the effect of age on stroke rehabilitation outcomes. This study examines the predictors of a good outcome after rehabilitation in Chinese stroke patients with special attention to age as a factor.

Patients and methods: This retrospective cohort study includes stroke patients receiving a standard inpatient multidisciplinary rehabilitation program in a neuro-rehabilitation ward of a convalescence hospital in Hong Kong from January 2000 to December 2003. Functional independence measure (FIM) >or=90 was used to define a good outcome. Multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the independent predictors of a good outcome.

Results: There were important differences in clinical characteristics and complications of stroke among patients of three age groups: <65, >or=65 and <80, and >or=80 years. The total FIM scores both upon admission and at discharge were lower in the older age groups. No significant difference was observed in the changes in FIM scores across these age groups. Age was not an independent predictor for a good outcome. FIM upon admission was an independent predictor for a good outcome (discharge FIM >or=90) in all patients and in individual age groups. Having employment before stroke was a predictor for good outcome in all patients. Living at home prior to stroke was a predictor for the total population and the >or=65 and <80 years group. The length of stay predicted a good outcome in the group >or=80 years.

Conclusions: Admission functional status, employment and living at home before stroke but not age per se are predictors of a good outcome following stroke rehabilitation. As older patients show comparable improvement during rehabilitation, intensive rehabilitation should not be withheld in stroke patients simply because of advanced age.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • China / epidemiology
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Urinary Incontinence / rehabilitation