Although important data on the prognosis and rehabilitation outcome in stroke patients have been reported, data on functional recovery according to stroke subtypes are limited. This retrospective study aimed to evaluate functional outcome in patients with middle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke-the most common subtype of ischemic stroke. The records of stroke patients that underwent the rehabilitation program at our brain injury rehabilitation service between January 2007 and December 2008 were reviewed, and those with MCA stroke were included in the study. Patient demographic and clinical data, and Barthel Index (BI) and Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scores at admission and discharge were collected. The study included 80 MCA stroke patients with a mean age of 63.54 years. FIM and BI scores improved significantly post rehabilitation (P < 0.05). Age was negatively correlated with both BI and FIM scores at admission and discharge. Length of stay was not correlated with improvement in BI or FIM scores during hospitalization. The patients that had <= 1 month of inpatient rehabilitation had similar outcomes as those that had > 1 month of inpatient rehabilitation (P > 0.05). Length of time after stroke onset was not correlated with BI or FIM scores at admission. Regardless of initial functional status, prediction of discharge functional status was misleading. Physiatrists should keep in mind that functional improvement does not always increase with duration of inpatient therapy. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.