Patient-reported outcomes in stroke clinical trials 2002-2016: a systematic review

Qual Life Res. 2019 May;28(5):1119-1128. doi: 10.1007/s11136-018-2053-7. Epub 2018 Nov 21.


Objective: Given the global and economic burden of stroke as a major cause of long-term disability, patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data from clinical trials can elucidate differential benefits/harms of interventions from patients' perspectives and influence clinical decision making in stroke care management.

Methods: This systematic review examines stroke-related randomized controlled trials (RCT) published in 12 high-impact journals between 2002 and 2016 for (1) associations between trial characteristics and the reporting of PRO measures; and (2) psychometric properties of PRO instruments used in these studies. The study combines clinical trials identified in a prior review with trials identified with an updated literature search.

Results: Only 34 of 159 stroke-related RCTs reported PRO measures. Among the 34 trials, most were published in rehabilitation and general medical journals, were conducted in the United States or Europe, were funded by government/non-industry sponsors, and focused on post-stroke care. Thirty-one PRO instruments were employed in these studies. Only 5 instruments were stroke-specific measures, whereas the remaining 26 instruments were generic measures. Eight instruments assessed functional status, 9 measured quality of life, and 14 assessed symptoms. The most common health domains measured were emotional status and physical function.

Conclusions: This study highlights the paucity of information from patients' perspective in stroke-related RCTs. This trend may change over time as researchers increase adherence to reporting guidelines for clinical trial protocols.

Keywords: Patient-reported outcome measures; Randomized controlled trial; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Stroke / therapy*