Fifty-seven young stroke patients (aged 45 years and below) admitted to a rehabilitation centre were assessed for underlying risk factor/aetiology and functional outcome after rehabilitation. The mean age was 37.2 +/- 6.3 years and the mean length of stay in the rehabilitation ward 38.3 +/- 19.9 days. There were 37 (64.9%) haemorrhagic and 20 (35.1%) ischaemic strokes. Hypertension was the single most important risk factor accounting for 49.1% of all strokes. Vascular abnormalities (arteriovenous malformation, mycotic aneurysm, vasculitis and Moya-moya disease) and cardiogenic embolism secondary to rheumatic valvular heart disease were also significant causes. There was significant improvement in functional status--activities of daily living (ADL) and mobility--after rehabilitation, the mean Functional Status score improving from 9.76 +/- 2.2 on admission to 5.07 +/- 1.95 on discharge (P < 0.01). Higher ADL and mobility function and upper and lower limb motor power of grade 3 and above on admission, absence of dysphasia, left hemiplegia, age less than 40 years and rehabilitation stay of less than 28 days were associated with better functional outcome whilst sex, nature and site of stroke, and length of stay in the acute ward had no significant bearing.