The Importance of Early Intensive Treatment of Stroke: 60% of Patients with Severe Disability Shows Improvement


In a study entitled “Ten-Year Longitudinal Research on Long-Term Function-Level Factors in Stroke Patient Rehabilitation (KOSCO)”, Professor Yun-Hee Kim (Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Samsung Medical Center) revealed that early intensive rehabilitation care is effective in improving severe disabilities, reducing nursing cost, and enhancing the quality of life. The study is sponsored by Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and eleven universities and university-affiliated medical institutions have participated since 2012.


According to the research, 60.4% of the stroke patients with first-grade severe disability showed improvements after six months of intensive rehab treatment, while the improvement rate for the non-intensive treatment group remained at 50.6%. For those with second-grade severe disability, intensive rehab treatment improved 84.2% of the patients: an improvement rate 11.2% higher than the non-intensive group’s 73%.


Patients with first-to-third grade severe disability also showed high rate of satisfaction in their quality of life after early intensive rehab care. The patients’ initial quality-of-life score was 0.478 out of 1, but the score has increased to 0.722 after six months of intensive rehab treatment.


Professor Yun-Hee Kim, who led the research, emphasized the importance of early intensive rehabilitation treatment in her statement: “early intensive rehabilitation treatments have great effects on the body-function recovery of stroke patients, improving their quality of life, and assisting their return to the society.”