Classification of Mild Stroke: A Mapping Review

Abstract

Persons with mild stroke experience motor and cognitive impairments that negatively impact their health and quality of life. To address these deficits, it is essential for clinicians and researchers to precisely identify mild stroke survivors. Despite the fact that half of all strokes are categorized as mild, no standards exist on what constitutes a “mild” stroke. The purpose of this study is to summarize the current classification of mild stroke using a mapping review approach. Strategies to categorize “mild stroke” severity were explored in 188 papers indexed in the PubMed database. The results indicate that there was substantial variability in the procedures and scoring criteria used to determine mild stroke. Researchers have largely applied acutely‐based assessment instruments (e.g., National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, Modified Rankin Scale, Barthel Index), followed by diagnostic imaging, and varying clinical criteria categorize “mild stroke” severity. Unfortunately, these approaches demonstrate floor effects and fail to detect the long‐term disabling impairments that often limit the outcomes of mild stroke survivors. Additional research is warranted to suggest an evidence‐based mild stroke categorization strategy that enhances diagnosis, treatment, and referral decisions to the benefit of mild stroke survivors. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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