About Dr John Rankin
Dr John Rankin (1923-1981) is one of the many distinguished alumni of the former University Department of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Stobhill Hospital Glasgow. While his varied international career encompassed pulmonary physiology, occupational medicine and public health, he remains best remembered in the UK for his early stroke publications. In a series of articles published 50 years ago in the Scottish Medical Journal he described early rehabilitative stroke medicine using a novel grading system. Half a century on and Rankin’s eponymous stroke scale has become the endpoint of choice in acute stroke trials. This paper describes Rankin’s remarkable career and the legacy of his work, with a particular focus on his stroke research and grading system. Dr John Rankin; His Life, Legacy and the 50th Anniversary of the Rankin Stroke Scale. TJ Quinn, J Dawson, M Walters Scot Med Journal 2008 53(1)44-7
When assessing outcome after stroke, the main issue that concerns patients or the regulatory authorities that license drugs, is the degree of disability that the patient is left with. The degree of disability is usually assessed by an independent observer and can be scored according to a standardised scale.
The modified Rankin scale is a 6 point disability scale with possible scores ranging from 0 up to 5. A separate category (of 6) is sometimes added for patients who die. The modified Rankin scale has been used widely in both secondary prevention and acute stroke trials, including most of the thrombolysis trials. In order to detect a treatment effect or to demonstrate clinical improvement, it is important that patients are rated in a consistent manner, minimising variability.