Association Between Physical Activity and Mortality Among Community-Dwelling Stroke Survivors

Background and Objective

To determine the relationship between physical activity (PA) and mortality in community-dwelling stroke survivors.

Methods

The Canadian Community Health Survey was used to obtain self-reported PA across 4 survey years and was linked to administrative databases to obtain prior diagnosis of stroke and subsequent all-cause mortality. PA was measured as metabolic equivalents (METs) per week and meeting minimal PA guidelines was defined as 10 MET-h/wk. Cox proportional hazard regression models and restricted cubic splines were used to determine the relationship between PA and all-cause mortality in respondents with prior stroke and controls, adjusting for sociodemographic factors, comorbidities, and functional health status.

Results

The cohort included 895 respondents with prior stroke and 97,805 controls. Adhering to PA guidelines was associated with lower hazard of death for those with prior stroke (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 0.46, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.29–0.73) and controls (aHR 0.69, 95% CI 0.62–0.76). There was a strong dose–response relationship in both groups, with a steep early slope and the vast majority of associated risk reduction occurring between 0 and 20 MET-h/wk. In the group of stroke respondents, PA was associated with greater risk reduction in those <75 years of age (aHR 0.21, 95% CI 0.10–0.43) compared to those ≥75 years of age (aHR 0.68, 95% CI 0.42–1.12).

Discussion

PA was associated with lower all-cause mortality in an apparent dose-dependent manner among those with prior stroke, particularly in younger stroke survivors. Our findings support efforts towards reducing barriers to PA and implementation of PA programs for stroke survivors in the community.

Classification of Evidence

This study provides Class III evidence that in community-dwelling survivors of stroke, adhering to physical activity guidelines was associated with lower hazard of death.

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