Original research| Volume 99, ISSUE 6, P1042-1048.e6, June 2018

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Effect of Rehabilitation Intensity on Mortality Risk After Stroke

Published:November 03, 2017DOI:



      To determine the relation between rehabilitation intensity and poststroke mortality.


      Retrospective cohort study.


      Nationwide claims data.


      From Taiwan's National Health Insurance claims databases, patients (N=6737; mean age, 66.9y; 40.3% women) hospitalized between 2001 and 2013 for a first-ever stroke who had mild to moderate stroke and survived the first 90 days of stroke were enrolled.


      The intensity of rehabilitation therapy within 90 days after stroke was categorized into low, medium, or high based on the tertile distribution of the number of rehabilitation sessions.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Long-term all-cause mortality. The Cox proportional hazard models with Bonferroni correction were used to assess the association between rehabilitation intensity and mortality, adjusting for age, comorbidities, stroke severity, and other covariates.


      Patients in the high-intensity group were younger but had a higher burden of comorbidities and greater stroke severity. During follow-up, the high-intensity group was associated with a significantly lower adjusted risk (hazard ratio [HR], .73; 95% confidence interval [CI], .63–.84) of mortality than the low-intensity group, whereas the medium-intensity group carried a similar risk of mortality (HR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.84–1.06) compared with the low-intensity group. This association was not modified by stroke severity.


      Among patients with mild to moderate stroke severity, high-intensity rehabilitation therapy within the first 90 days was associated with a lower mortality risk than low-intensity therapy. Efforts to promote high-intensity rehabilitation therapy for this group of patients with stroke should be encouraged.


      List of abbreviations:

      CCI (Charlson Comorbidity Index), ICD-9-CM (International Classification of Diseases–9th Revision–Clinical Modifications), LHID2000 (Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2000), NHI (National Health Insurance), NIHSS (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale), PAC (postacute care), SSI (stroke severity index)
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