In a nutshell
This study looked at self-reported levels of fatigue in young stroke survivors 3,6 and 12 months after finishing rehabilitation. It found that patients with higher levels of fatigue were less likely to return to work up to 1 year after a stroke.
A stroke can affect many of the functions of the body. In patients with no significant movement or speech disabilities, mental problems such as depression or fatigue can impact the quality of life of survivors. Post-stroke fatigue is described as an overwhelming tiredness that can impact a patient's ability to carry out daily tasks. It affects 38-78% of stroke survivors and can last more than 3 years. The fatigue severity scale (FSS) is a questionnaire that measures tiredness on a scale of 1-7.
It is not clear if post-stroke fatigue affects patients' ability to return to work after a stroke in younger individuals.
Methods & findings
105 patients younger than 60 years who have had a stroke were included in this study. The average age of participants was 49. Patients completed between 4 and 10 weeks of rehabilitation. They were followed up with the FSS questionnaire to measure fatigue after rehabilitation at 3,6 and 12 months.
By 3 months after rehab, 60% of the participants had not returned to work. By 12 months 32.7% of patients had not returned to work.
High levels of fatigue were associated with a decreased likelihood of returning to work at 3, 6, and 12 months. At 3 months, patients with high levels of fatigue were 41.6 times less likely to return to work compared to those whose fatigue had resolved. After 12 months, patients with persistent fatigue were 4.3 times less likely to return to work.
Fatigue at hospital admission was a predictor of persistent fatigue and inability to return to work at 3 and 6 months.
The bottom line
This study showed that high levels of post-stroke fatigue are associated with a lower likelihood of returning to work up to a year after rehabilitation. The authors suggested that fatigue should be routinely assessed and addressed during rehabilitation in these patients.
The fine print
This study involved mainly participants in high-level clerical jobs. More studies are needed to see if these findings apply to other jobs as well.
Published By :
Aug 05, 2021