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: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01915368.
Keywords: Stroke; clinical trial; rehabilitation.