Second Chances Study Shows Most Stroke Survivors 'Very Satisfied' with Their Overall Quality of Life

CHICAGO, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients who have survived a stroke report surprisingly high overall life satisfaction, according to the preliminary results of the Second Chances(TM) study, which will be presented today by researchers from Northwestern University and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). Among people who care for stroke survivors, the results were less positive, with caregivers generally reporting more symptoms of depression than their patients.

"While the impact of stroke can be catastrophic, stroke survivors maintain a positive overall outlook on life," said Dr. Allen Heinemann, Director, Center for Rehabilitation Outcomes Research, RIC, and a lead researcher for the Second Chances study. "This positive outlook endures in spite of significant challenges in their ability to perform daily activities as well as certain aspects of their private lives." Seventy-three percent of the stroke survivors included in the Second Chances study reported themselves "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the overall quality of their lives. Specifically, 87 percent of the stroke survivors were "very satisfied" with their ability to complete activities of daily living, 69 percent were "very satisfied" with their family life and 72 percent were "very satisfied" with their relationship with their partners.

The Second Chances study is an observational research study designed to quantify and characterize the burden of surviving a stroke on patients and their caregivers using novel questionnaires and self-assessments developed by researchers at Northwestern University for the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The study assessed the impact of stroke on 184 patients and 10 caregivers (with the relatively low number of caregivers reflecting the recruitment challenges of observational research in this patient population).

Among caregivers interviewed for the Second Chances study, 30 percent reported symptoms of depression ranging from low energy levels and poor sleeping habits to feelings of emotional and social isolation. "What we see in the Second Chances study is that serving as the primary caregiver to a stroke survivor can be a full-time job, and the impact on the health and well-being of the caregiver cannot be overstated," said Heinemann.

The Second Chances study also revealed marked differences in the way men and women perceived the burden of life after stroke. Whereas men experienced stroke survivorship primarily as a physically limiting condition, the impact on women was more profound, affecting the way they felt about themselves, the quality of their relationships, and most significantly, their work situation. In the Second Chances study, only 29 percent of women who survived a stroke expressed satisfaction with their career/job situation, compared to 65 percent of men.

"Recovering from a stroke is a lifelong journey that affects every patient differently," said Diane Mulligan, Vice President, National Corporate Communications Development, National Stroke Association. "By better understanding the ways stroke affects people, we're better able to direct resources and care where they're most needed. That's why studies like Second Chances are important."

National Stroke Association and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. are working together to communicate the findings and implications of the Second Chances study to stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals across the country. The two organizations will host a presentation and panel discussion on April 29, 2008 at the Hilton Chicago. The discussion will be moderated by Mark McEwen, the former co-host of the CBS Early Show, who suffered a near-fatal stroke in 2005. McEwen hosted a similar panel discussion to launch the Second Chances study program in April 2007.

"As a stroke survivor, I know how devastating stroke can be," said McEwen. "I hope that by sharing my story, I can inspire other stroke survivors to understand that they are not alone and that surviving a stroke really is a second chance at life." McEwen has recently written a book, Change in the Weather, (Dutton & Gotham, Penguin U.S.A.) about his experience with stroke and his rehabilitation. The book will be available next month.

About the Second Chances Study

The Second Chances study is an observational analysis of 184 patients who have suffered a stroke and 10 caregivers. Patients were identified from a research registry of more than 2,000 patients from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) who have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack. These patients were invited to participate in interviews and complete a series of questionnaires to assess medical care, functional status and aspects of their health-related quality of life. In addition, the study was designed to evaluate health-related quality of life after stroke for both patients and caregivers.

The Second Chances study was conducted by the Center on Outcomes Research and Education, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The panel discussion on April 29 will be broadcast live via Web cast. For more information about the Second Chances study and to view the Web cast, log on to The Second Chances study is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

About Stroke

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death and a leading cause of chronic adult disability in the United States. Nearly 780,000 Americans suffer stroke each year; approximately one-quarter of these strokes are recurrent episodes.(1) A stroke is sometimes thought of as a "brain attack," and occurs when blood vessels carrying oxygen and other nutrients to a specific area of the brain become blocked or suddenly burst. This interrupts blood flow to the brain and prevents oxygen from reaching vital areas, resulting in impairment or loss of abilities or functions.(2)

About National Stroke Association

National Stroke Association is the leading national non-profit organization devoting all its efforts and resources to stroke. National Stroke Association provides the most up-to-date information on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for stroke survivors and their families. For more information on National Stroke Association and its programs please contact 1-800-STROKES or visit

About Center on Outcomes, Research and Education

The Center on Outcomes, Research and Education (CORE) is the locus for outcomes management and outcomes research at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare (ENH). CORE bridges clinical activity and outcomes research at ENH through quality improvement/continuity of care and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). CORE has established itself as a national leader in the application of clinical research to improve patient care and influence policy. Its research on outcomes and effectiveness evaluates how various treatment strategies affect results important to patients, including quality of life. This stimulates higher quality healthcare at a reasonable cost and creates multiple opportunities for extramurally-funded outcomes research. For more information please visit

About Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is dedicated to helping people with all levels and types of physical disabilities live fulfilling lives. U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIC the "#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America" every year since 1991. RIC operates a flagship hospital in Chicago as well as a network of DayRehabCenters and outpatient centers located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. It also maintains strategic alliances with other healthcare providers throughout the state of Illinois and north central Indiana. For more information please visit

Boehringer Ingelheim and Cardiovascular Medicine

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. continues its century-long history of innovation and commitment to continuing research to further understand cardiovascular disease -- the number one cause of death worldwide. Boehringer Ingelheim has introduced novel agents in the management of hypertension and treatment of secondary stroke and continues to invest in a comprehensive cardiovascular pipeline.

The Company's cardiovascular medicine clinical trial program includes studies involving more than 75,000 patients in more than 40 countries. These studies were designed to evaluate ways to reduce the risk of damaging events in the heart, brain and other organs due to cardiovascular disease and to uncover new treatment strategies that improve patient outcomes and care.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 135 affiliates in 47 countries and approximately 39,800 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2007, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of US $15.0 billion (10.9 billion euro) while spending approximately one-fifth of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.

SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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