Predictors of Stroke Survivors’ Enrollment in an Exercise Study

Background: Screening measures prior to study enrollment are needed to determine safety and minimize participant burden. Our objective was to determine if functional disability, physical function, cognitive impairment, age or gender were predictive of enrollment in an exercise study. Methods: This observational study used cross-sectional data from 233 stroke survivors with mild-moderate disability, who consented to be screened for potential study enrollment. Results: Participants were on average 68±12 years old (49% women), reported mild-moderate disability (mRS=2.1±0.8), had some impairments in physical functioning (SPPB=6.9 ±2.6), but were without cognitive impairments (MMSE=27.6 ± 3.6). Significant predictors of study enrollment using binary logistic regression included leg strength [X2(1)= 29.17, p<0.01], gait speed [X2(1)= 36.60, p<0.03], and cognitive function [X2(1)= 9.99, p=0.03]. Multiple logistic regression indicated that leg strength, gait speed, and cognitive function together, were predictive of enrollment [X2(3)=14.05, p<0.01]. Conclusions: The Short Physical Performance Battery and Mini-Mental Status Exam are quick and easy to administer; to assess various levels of physical and cognitive function, with minimal risk to participants. Fewer screening tests reduced participant burden and may have encouraged participation in an exercise study, even among stroke survivors with impairments in physical and/or cognitive function.