Quality of life and Cerebrovascular Accidents

The annual incidence of cerebrovascular disease varies in the western industrialized countries (125-288/100000 population). Despite the significant decrease in the mortality rates due to the disease in the last decades, it constituted the third cause of death in persons over 65 years in the USA during the years 1979-1991.

Apart from increased mortality, cerebrovascular accidents result in high proportions of partial or total disability (24%-54%), thus significantly affecting the patientís quality of life.

Most health-related quality-of-life (HRQL) assessment tools are based on scales of self-assessment or on the patientsí proxy assessments (caregivers, etc).

In different studies, the overall quality of life after a stroke is lower of that of the control group. The most important indices influencing the outcome are depression, marital life, social support and fuctional status of patient.

Measuring quality of life following stroke is useful in order to better understand the patientsí reaction towards their illness, to develop treatments and to record the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. The data derived from the above measurements can be used in economic analyses, in resource allocation and to ultimitely influence health-care policy.

Key words: Cerebrovascular accidents, quality of life.