Racial variations in ischemic stroke-related physical and functional impairments

Ronnie D. Horner, David B. Matchar, George W. Divine, John R. Feussner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: We sought to determine whether there are racial differences in physical and functional impairments resulting from an initial ischemic stroke. Methods: We conducted a prospective, county-wide, multisite cohort study including a university hospital, a community hospital, and a Veterans Affairs hospital. The study population was an inception cohort of 145 patients hospitalized for ischemic stroke. Physical and functional impairments were measured using a modified form of the Fugl-Meyer test and the Barthel Index, respectively. Nurses trained to use these tests made assessments at admission and 5, 30, 90, and 180 days after admission. Patient and disease-specific data along with treatment data and vital status were collected. Results: Forty-one patients (28%) were black. Compared with whites, black stroke patients were more likely to be widowed (51% versus 26%) and hypertensive (83% versus 63%) but less likely to be male (42% versus 69%) and alert on admission (66% versus 76%). There were no racial differences in mortality. Physical impairment was significantly more severe in black than in white patients at admission, and although physical impairment improved, it remained significantly worse in blacks. Functional impairment was also greater in black patients initially but was similar to that in white patients 90 days after the event. Multivariable analyses confirmed these findings. Conclusions: These results indicate that blacks may have greater residual physical deficits from stroke than whites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1497-1501
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebrovascular disorder
  • Racials
  • Stroke outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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