A pilot randomized controlled trial to evaluate the benefit of the cardiac rehabilitation paradigm for the non-acute ischaemic stroke population.

Lennon O, Carey A, Gaffney N, Stephenson J, Blake C.

The authors set out to evaluate risk factor reduction and health-related quality of life following a 10-week cardiac rehabilitation programme in non-acute ischaemic stroke subjects. Forty-eight community-dwelling ischaemic stroke patients were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group. The trial consisted of a ten week schedule with measures taken at weeks one and ten. Both groups continued usual care (excluding aerobic exercise). In addition the intervention subjects attended 16 cycle ergometry sessions of aerobic-training intensity and two stress-management classes.

Group comparison showed significantly greater improvement at follow-up by intervention subjects than controls in VO2 and Cardiac Risk Score (CRS). Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion decreased in intervention subjects and increased in controls. Within-group comparison showed significant decrease in the HADS depression subscale in the intervention group alone. The results suggest non-acute ischaemic stroke patients can improve their cardiovascular fitness and reduce their CRS with a cardiac rehabilitation programme. The intervention was associated with improvement in self-reported depression.

Clinical Rehabilitation. 2008 Feb;22:125-33

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