Is accurate prediction of gait in nonambulatory stroke patients possible within 72 hours poststroke? The EPOS study

Neurorehabil Neural Repair. Mar-Apr 2011;25(3):268-74. doi: 10.1177/1545968310384271. Epub 2010 Dec 26.


Background: Early prognosis, adequate goal setting, and referral are important for stroke management.

Objective: To investigate if independent gait 6 months poststroke can be accurately predicted within the first 72 hours poststroke, based on simple clinical bedside tests. Reassessment on days 5 and 9 was used to check whether accuracy changed over time.

Methods: In 154 first-ever ischemic stroke patients unable to walk independently, 19 demographic and clinical variables were assessed within 72 hours and again on days 5 and 9 poststroke. Multivariable logistic modeling was applied to identify early prognostic factors for regaining independent gait, defined as ≥4 points on the Functional Ambulation Categories.

Results: Multivariable modeling showed that patients with an independent sitting balance (Trunk Control Test-sitting; 30 seconds) and strength of the hemiparetic leg (Motricity Index leg; eg, visible contraction for all 3 items, or movement against resistance but weaker for 1 item) on day 2 poststroke had a 98% probability of achieving independent gait at 6 months. Absence of these features in the first 72 hours was associated with a probability of 27%, declining to 10% by day 9.

Conclusions: Accurate prediction of independent gait performance can be made soon after stroke, using 2 simple bedside tests: "sitting balance" and "strength of the hemiparetic leg." This knowledge is useful for making early clinical decisions regarding treatment goals and discharge planning at hospital stroke units.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / diagnosis*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology
  • Hemiplegia / diagnosis*
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / physiopathology