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Leg-crossing patients ‘have better chance of recovery after stroke’

Patients able to cross their legs within 15 days of a severe stroke appear to have better survival rates and fewer neurological problems than those who cannot.

Researchers made this conclusion after a controlled prospective observational study of 68 stroke patients, half who were able to cross their legs and half who were not. Participants were followed for one year and were tested using several scales to measure disability and independence.

After one year, only one person had died in the leg-crossing group, compared with 18 among the non-leg-crossers. Using the Barthel Index test, which gives an indication of patient independence, leg-crossers scored 71 out of 100 a year after discharge compared with 49 for non-leg-crossers.

Study author Professor Berend Feddersen, assistant professor of neurology at the University of Munich in Germany, said: ‘If this finding is confirmed, leg crossing may be an easy way to help doctors determine who may have a better chance of recovery.'

Neurology 2011; 77: 1453-56