Health-related quality of life after first-ever acute ischemic stroke: associations with cardiovascular health metrics

Rui She, Zhongrui Yan, Yanlei Hao, Zuoji Zhang, Yifeng du, Yajun Liang, Davide L. Vetrano, Joost Dekker, Bo Bai, Joseph T. F. Lau, Chengxuan Qiu

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Purpose: To investigate the associations between cardiovascular health (CVH) metrics and health-related quality of life (HRQL) among patients with ischemic stroke in China, and further explore the role of physical and cognitive function in their associations. Methods: This hospital-based study included 1714 patients with first-ever acute ischemic stroke (age ≥ 40 years; 36.7% women) who were admitted to two university hospitals in Shandong, China. We collected information on seven CVH metrics (smoking, body mass index, diet, physical activity, blood pressure, total cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose) through interviews, clinical examinations, and laboratory tests. EQ-5D-3L was used to assess HRQL. Cognitive and physical functioning was assessed by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test and Barthel index, respectively. Data were analyzed using the general linear regression models. Results: The average score (SD) was 0.746 (0.23) for HRQL index and 72.7 (15.8) for self-rated health. Optimal levels of four individual CVH metric components (diet, physical activity, blood pressure, and blood glucose) and a higher composite CVH score were significantly associated with a greater HRQL index and better self-rated health (p < 0.05 for all). Physical dependence and cognitive impairment were associated with a lower HRQL index and poorer self-rated health status (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the relationships between CVH metrics and HRQL index varied by functional status, such that their associations were statistically significant only among people who had physical dependence or cognitive impairment. Conclusion: Achieving a better cardiovascular health profile is associated with better quality of life among ischemic stroke survivors, primarily in those with physical or cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2907-2917
Number of pages11
JournalQuality of life research
Issue number10
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Cardiovascular disease risks
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Function
  • Quality of life
  • Stroke

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