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Leg crossing may signal better recovery for stroke patients
October 10th, 2011
04:31 PM ET

Leg crossing may signal better recovery for stroke patients

The ability of some stroke patients to cross their legs soon after having a stroke may offer insight into how successfully they will recover, compared to patients who can’t cross their legs. The findings are in a small study published in the journal Neurology.

“Despite having severe strokes that left them with slight loss of movement and even reduced consciousness, we noticed that some people were still able to cross their legs, which is not as easy as it seems,” lead study author Dr. Berend Feddersen of the University of Munich, Germany said in a news release. He notes that if future studies confirm the results of this study, a stroke patient’s ability to cross their legs may give doctors a tool for assessing how well a patient may recover.

University of Munich researchers studied severe stroke patients who were admitted to the neurologic intensive care unit (NICU). “Severe stroke” was defined as requiring help with breathing or circulatory help or a high level of neurological monitoring. All medical staff, which includes doctors and nurses, were told to report if the patient crossed their legs during their stay in the NICU, and to note it on the patient’s chart.

During the study period, which was between May 2005 and September 2006, 120 patients were admitted to the NICU with severe stroke. Leg crossing was seen in 34 of those patients during their NICU stay, who were matched to a control group of 34 non-leg crossers, based on age and neurological tests measuring disability and independence. All patients were assessed at admission, when they crossed their legs, when they were discharged from the NICU, and one year later.

While both groups of patients scored similarly upon admission to the NICU, patients who could cross their legs within 15 days after admission to the NICU scored better on tests of ability and independence at discharge from the NICU and one year later. The most striking difference between the two groups was in deaths: Among the leg crossers, one patient  died. Among the non-leg crossers, 18 patients – or 53% of the group – died.

Dr. Ralph L. Sacco, who is the Chief of Neurology at University of Miami, as well as the immediate past president of the American Heart Association, says this is a “small study with a curious observation that patients with severe strokes who can cross their legs early in the course of their stroke have a better prognosis. Like any new finding, we need replication in larger samples to know if early leg crossing is as good a prognostic sign as this study seems to indicate.”

Strokes are the third most frequent cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer. On average, an American has a stroke every 40 seconds, according to the American Heart Association.


soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. утилизация аккумуляторных батарей

    О! Spot on with this write-up, I actually assume this website needs way more consideration. I’ll probably be again to read far more, thanks for that info.

    October 11, 2011 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. dean reinke

    I would suggest a better way to predict recovery would be to get a damage diagnosis, what area is dead vs. what area is in the penumbra which can spontaneously recover. This is nothing more than standard scientific analysis which stroke researchers seem not to understand.

    October 12, 2011 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply

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