Reliability of Proxy Respondents for Patients With Stroke: A Systematic Review
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Proxy respondents are an important aspect of stroke medicine and research. We performed a systematic review of studies evaluating the reliability of proxy respondents for stroke patients. Studies were identified by searches of MEDLINE, Google, and the Cochrane Library between January 1969 and June 2008. All were prospective or cross-sectional studies reporting the reliability of proxy respondents for patients with a history of previous stroke or transient ischemic attack. One author abstracted data. For each study, intraclass correlation (ICC) or the k-statistic was categorized as poor (0.80). Thirteen studies, with a total of 2618 participants, met our inclusion criteria. Most studies recruited patients >3 months after their stroke. Of these studies, 5 (360 participants; 5 scales) evaluated reliability of proxy respondents for activities of daily living (ADL), and 9 (2334 participants; 9 scales) evaluated reliability of proxy respondents for quality of life (QoL). One study evaluated both. In studies, the ICC/k for scales ranged from 0.61 to 0.91 for ADL and from 0.41 to 0.8 for QoL. Most studies reported that proxy respondents overestimated impairments compared with patient self-reports. Stroke severity and objective nature of questions were the most consistent determinants of disagreement between stroke patient and proxy respondent. Our data indicate that beyond the acute stroke period, the reliability of proxy respondents for validated scales of ADL was substantial to excellent, while that of scales for QoL was moderate to substantial.
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