Background: Attention deficits have been linked to poor recovery after stroke and may predict outcome. We explored the influence of attention on functional recovery post stroke in the first 12 months after discharge from hospital.
Methods: People with stroke completed measures of attention, balance, mobility and activities of daily living (ADL) ability at the point of discharge from hospital, and 6 and 12 months later. We used correlational analysis and stepwise linear regression to explore potential predictors of outcome.
Results: We recruited 122 men and women, mean age 70 years. At discharge, 56 (51%) had deficits of divided attention, 45 (37%) of sustained attention, 43 (36%) of auditory selective attention and 41 (37%) had visual selective attention deficits. Attention at discharge correlated with mobility, balance and ADL outcomes 12 months later. After controlling for the level of the outcome at discharge, correlations remained significant in only five of the 12 relationships. Stepwise linear regression revealed that the outcome measured at discharge, days until discharge and number of medications were better predictors of outcome: in no case was an attention variable at discharge selected as a predictor of outcome at 12 months.
Conclusions: Although attention and function correlated significantly, this correlation was reduced after controlling for functional ability at discharge. Furthermore, side of lesion and the attention variables were not demonstrated as important predictors of outcome 12 months later.
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Funding: The study was supported by a grant from the Stroke Association.
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: Ethics approval was obtained from the Southampton and South West Hampshire Local Research Ethics Committee.