Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2015 , Vol 61 , Num 4

Correlation between Functional Independence and Quality of Executive Functions in Stroke Patients

Sladjana ARSIC 1 ,Fadilj EMINOVIC 2 ,Ljubica KONSTANTINOVIC 3 ,Dragan PAVLOVIC 2 ,Dragana KLJAJIC 1 ,Mile DESPOTOVIC 1
1 High Medical School of Professional Studies, Cuprija, Serbia
2 Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation, University of Belgrade, Serbia
3 Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia
DOI : 10.5152/tftrd.2015.25932 Objective: The rehabilitation of stroke patients is complex. It is believed that there is a correlation between the quality of functional independence and degree of preserved executive and cognitive functions. The aim of this work was to investigate potential correlations between the quality of executive and cognitive functions and the achieved level of functional independence during the rehabilitation of stroke patients.

Material and Methods: The study included 50 stroke patients evaluated during rehabilitation and 50 beneficiaries of the Gerontology Center as control subjects randomly chosen, with no diagnosed neurological damage. The following tests were used: Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) for executive function assessment, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) for cognitive screening, and Functional Independence Measure (FIM) test for functional independence assessment. The statistical analyses included the Mann–Whitney U test for comparisons between two independent samples, canonical correlation analysis, and χ2-test.

Results: Our results show a statistically significant difference in all assessed functions between the two groups (p<.001). Furthermore, we show a positive correlation between executive functions and achieved functional independence in stroke patients (p<.001). Moreover, a positive correlation exists between cognitive functions and level of functional independence in stroke patients.

Conclusion: Our results show that stroke patients with lower executive function scores achieve less functional independence. Stroke patients with existing cognitive impairment achieve less functional independence in all domains compared with stroke patients without cognitive impairment. Keywords : Stroke, executive functions, cognitive functions, functional independence