Experience of Severe Fatigue Long after Stroke and Its Relation to Depressive Symptoms and Disease Characteristicsvan der Werf S.P.a · van den Broek H.L.P.b · Anten H.W.M.b · Bleijenberg G.a
aThe Netherlands Fatigue Research Group, Department of Medical Psychology, University Hospital Nijmegen, Nijmegen, bDepartment of Neurology, Maasland Hospital Sittard, Sittard, The Netherlands
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Although the experience of abnormal fatigue is recognised as a major disabling symptom in many chronic neurological diseases, little is known about the persistence of severe fatigue after an abrupt neurological incident like a stroke. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to test whether the experience of severe fatigue persists long after a stroke has occurred, and to assess the relation between experienced fatigue and levels of physical impairment and depression. Ninety stroke outpatients and 50 controls returned mailed questionnaires. Compared to age-matched controls, a significantly larger proportion (16 vs. 51%) of the stroke respondents experienced severe fatigue, while 20% of the patients and 16% of the controls had elevated depression symptom scores. The time which had elapsed since the stroke occurred could not explain levels of fatigue. In the control group, the number of depressive symptoms explained most of the variance in levels of fatigue, while impairment of locomotion explained most of the variance in the stroke group.
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