Recovery of standing balance and health-related quality of life after mild or moderately severe stroke

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Feb;88(2):218-27. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2006.11.023.


Objective: To examine the physiologic and functional recovery of standing balance and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in people after mild and moderate stroke.

Design: Inception cohort study with evaluations at 1 month and 3 months poststroke.

Setting: Laboratory.

Participants: Twenty-nine volunteers who had sustained a stroke. Subjects were categorized into mild and moderate groups.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Functional balance was assessed (Clinical Outcome Variables Scale [COVS]) and physiologic measures (electromyography, postural sway) were taken when subjects stood quietly on a force platform and when they performed a rapid unilateral arm-raise perturbation. The Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) was administered to evaluate HRQOL.

Results: Subjects in the mild group were approaching maximal scores on the COVS (87.7+/-4.1/91) at 3 months poststroke, yet had significant impairment in paretic muscle activation patterns when compared with healthy subjects. Subjects in the moderate group had increased paretic muscle activation over the 2 months, accompanied by significant increases of 10.7+/-5.9 points on the COVS. For both groups, there was significantly less postural sway on the paretic than the nonparetic leg and significant improvements in the SF-36 (physical component) over time.

Conclusions: Subjects recovering from a stroke showed a significant improvement in physical HRQOL and functional and physiologic balance, yet the physiologic balance recovery was not complete even in the mild group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Paresis / physiopathology
  • Paresis / rehabilitation
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*