Sunday, 20 March 2011

Test to Determine When It Is Safe to Drive after a Stroke

For families of people who have suffered a stroke, it can be hard to determine when the person can safely begin driving again, or whether he can drive again on his own at all. A new study published in the February issue of Neurology outlines three simple tests that stroke victims can perform to determine whether they can safely begin to drive again.

The researchers analyzed previous clinical trials on more than 1,700 stroke victims. These victims were of an average age of 61 years. The studies involved three in-office tests that were taken about nine months after a stroke in the doctor's office. The first test was a roadside recognition test to assess the person's visual comprehension skills, as well as his knowledge of traffic signs. The second test was to examine the mental state of the patient and his visual perceptual abilities. The third test was a trail making test that measured the patient's visual motor abilities as well as his visual scanning capacity.

The stroke victims were ranked based on their performance in tests. Patients who scored below 8.5 out of 12 on the roadside test or scored 25/32 on the compass test, and took a time of more than 90 seconds to complete the trail making test, were considered to be highly likely to fail a road test. At least three or four other studies have confirmed that persons who had been cleared to drive after they had a stroke, suffered no increased risk of accidents.

California injury lawyers would advise that people who have suffered a stroke to consult with their doctor about these tests, and use these to determine whether they are ready to begin driving again. Besides a physician, a neuropsychologist and an occupational therapist can also help these persons determine their driving abilities.