Physical impairment, depressive symptoms and pre-stroke fatigue are related to fatigue in the acute phase after stroke

Disabil Rehabil. 2011;33(4):334-42. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2010.490867. Epub 2010 Jun 3.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe prevalence of fatigue and its relationship with demographic and clinical variables during the first 2 weeks (acute phase) following a stroke.

Method: Data were collected in a cross-sectional correlational study from face-to-face interviews using structured questionnaires and patient's medical records. The sample consists of 115 patients with first-ever stroke admitted to two hospitals in Norway in 2007 and 2008. Post-stroke fatigue was measured with the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS). The FSS measure was applied in the analysis as a continuous variable, and also used to categorise patients into three groups of fatigue intensity: no fatigue (mean FSS-score <4), moderate fatigue (mean FSS-score = 4-4.9) and severe fatigue (mean FSS-score ≥5). Patients who reported fatigue lasting longer than 3 months before the stroke were defined as having prestroke fatigue.

Results: Pre-stroke fatigue was reported by 34 patients (30%). After stroke, 24% had severe fatigue, and fatigue was more common for women (57%). Controlling for sex and prestroke fatigue, the multivariate analysis showed that prestroke fatigue, lower physical function and depressive symptoms were related to post-stroke fatigue.

Conclusion: Pre-stroke fatigue and fatigue during the acute phase needs to be assessed in relation to physical functioning and depression during recovery and the rehabilitation process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Fatigue / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep
  • Stroke / epidemiology*