Does upper limb strength play a prominent role in health-related quality of life in stroke patients discharged from inpatient rehabilitation?

Eline C.C.van Lieshout, Ingrid G. van de Port, Rick M. Dijkhuizen, Johanna M.A. Visser-Meily*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Background: Impairments in arm function are a common problem in stroke survivors and have a large impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Little is known about the longitudinal relationship between recovery of upper limb strength and changes in HRQoL. Objectives: This study aimed to determine to what extent changes in HRQoL are related to changes in upper limb strength after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. Methods: 250 patients from an RCT were assessed at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation (baseline) and at 12 weeks post-discharge (follow-up). The Stroke Impact Scale was used to measure HRQoL, and the Motricity Index Arm was used to measure upper limb strength. Hierarchical regression analysis was performed to determine the predictive value of upper limb strength on HRQoL, relative to demographic and clinical characteristics. Regression analysis was used to determine the relation between upper limb strength improvement and HRQoL improvement. Results: Upper limb strength at baseline was a major predictor of HRQoL at follow-up, after accounting for demographic and clinical characteristics ( p < .05). Improvement in HRQoL was positively related to improvement in upper limb strength ( F(1, 240) = 18.351, p <.0005). Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of upper limb strength in HRQoL, as HRQoL is associated with improvement in upper limb strength recovery. Better monitoring of recovery and treatment of upper limb strength during the outpatient rehabilitation period and beyond, i.e. outside the typical time-window of recovery in the first 3 months post-stroke, might contribute to higher quality of life for stroke survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-533
Number of pages9
JournalTopics in Stroke Rehabilitation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • outcome measures
  • quality of life
  • rehabilitation
  • self-reported functional status
  • stroke
  • Upper limb function
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge
  • Stroke/physiopathology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Male
  • Hand Strength/physiology
  • Inpatients
  • Quality of Life
  • Female
  • Aged
  • Upper Extremity/physiopathology


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