Motor loss and swallowing difficulty after stroke: frequency, recovery, and prognosis.
Data relating to motor loss and swallowing difficulties in a community sample of 976 patients who suffered an acute stroke have been analysed. About 17% of patients seen within one week had no paralysis; at 6 months 48% of survivors had no paralysis and 9% had severe paralysis. The Motricity Index used to study motor loss related to functional loss and walking ability; it seems to be a simple valid measure of motor loss. Severe paralysis was associated with a high fatality rate, and only 6%-10% of survivors of an initially severe paralysis made a full recovery by 6 months. If severe persisted at 3 weeks, full recovery was not observed. Loss of sitting balance was associated with a poor outcome. Of conscious patients seen within one week, 14% choked on attempting to swallow and a further 28% had abnormal swallowing: this 42% of patients had a high fatality rate.