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Can stroke patients use visual analogue scales?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher Price, Dr Richard Curless, Professor Helen Rodgers


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Background and Purpose - Visual analogue scales (VAS) have been used for the subjective measurement of mood, pain, and health status after stroke. In this study we investigated how stroke-related impairments could alter the ability of subjects to answer accurately. Methods - Consent was obtained from 96 subjects with a clinical stroke (mean age, 72.5 years; 50 men) and 48 control subjects without cerebrovascular disease (mean age, 71.5 years; 29 men). Patients with reduced conscious level or severe dysphasia were excluded. Subjects were asked to rate the tightness that they could feel on the (unaffected) upper arm after 3 low-pressure inflations with a standard sphygmomanometer cuff, which followed a predetermined sequence (20 mm Hg, 40 mm Hg, 0 mm Hg). Immediately after each change, they rated the perceived tightness on 5 scales presented in a random order: 4-point rating scale (none, mild, moderate, severe), 0 to 10 numerical rating scale, mechanical VAS, horizontal VAS, and vertical VAS. Standard tests recorded deficits in language, cognition, and visuospatial awareness. Results - Inability to complete scales with the correct pattern was associated with any stroke (P<0.001). There was a significant association between success using scales and milder clinical stroke subtype (P<0.01). Within the stroke group, logistic regression analysis identified significant associations (P<0105) between impairments (cognitive and visuospatial) and inability to complete individual scales correctly. Conclusions - Many patients after a stroke are unable to successfully complete self-report measurement scales, including VAS.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rodgers H; Curless RH; Price CIM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Stroke

Year: 1999

Volume: 30

Issue: 7

Pages: 1357-1361

Print publication date: 01/07/1999

ISSN (print): 0039-2499

ISSN (electronic): 1524-4628

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


DOI: 10.1161/01.STR.30.7.1357

PubMed id: 10390307


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