A randomized trial on the efficacy of intensive rehabilitation in the acute phase of ischemic stroke

J Neurol. 2003 Oct;250(10):1206-8. doi: 10.1007/s00415-003-0185-2.


Sixty patients admitted to hospital for hemispherical ischemic stroke causing severe disabilities were enrolled in the study. The patients were divided in two groups: A and B. The patients in group A were given intensive rehabilitative treatment; those in group B were given ordinary rehabilitative treatment. Both treatments lasted 14 days. At the end of that period, the patients of both groups were sent to the same rehabilitation center to continue treatment, using the same methods for all. The patients were evaluated by means of the modified N. I. H. Stroke Scale and the Barthel-Index on the day of enrollment, on the 14(th) and 180(th) day. The results obtained from intensive treatment were no better than those obtained from ordinary treatment. This study shows that there is no point in adopting an intensive rehabilitative treatment for an ischemic stroke in its acute phase: a more expensive and time-consuming effort does not in any way lead to a better outcome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Ischemia / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome