Determining optimal poststroke exercise: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial investigating therapeutic intensity and dose on functional recovery during stroke inpatient rehabilitation

Int J Stroke. 2019 Jan;14(1):80-86. doi: 10.1177/1747493018785064. Epub 2018 Jul 16.


Rationale: A top priority in stroke rehabilitation research is determining the appropriate exercise dose to optimize recovery. Although more intensive rehabilitation very early after stroke may be deleterious to recovery, inpatient rehabilitation, occurring after acute care, may be a more appropriate setting to assess therapeutic dose on neurological recovery.

Hypothesis: Individuals receiving higher intensity and dose exercise programs will yield greater improvements in walking ability over usual inpatient physical therapy care.

Methods and design: Seventy-five individuals across seven inpatient rehabilitation sites in Canada will be randomized into one of three treatment programs, each 5 days/week, for four weeks and monitored for exertion (heart rate) and repetitions (step count).

Study outcomes: The primary outcome measure is the 6 min walk and secondary outcomes include functional independence, cognitive, and quality-of-life measures. Outcome data will be assessed at four time points.

Summary: This trial will contribute to our knowledge of the therapeutic intensity and dose necessary to maximize functional recovery at a very important stage of rehabilitation and neural recovery poststroke.

Trial registration: NCT01915368.

Keywords: Stroke; clinical trial; rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Recovery of Function
  • Research Design
  • Stroke / therapy*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult

Associated data