The impact of wheelchair propulsion based physical activity on functional recovery in stroke rehabilitation: a multicenter observational study

Disabil Rehabil. 2020 Oct 7;1-6. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2020.1821249. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Purpose: We aimed to evaluate the relationship between the daily wheelchair self-propulsion distance and functional recovery in subacute stroke survivors.

Methods: Seventy-four patients with stroke were prospectively recruited from four convalescent rehabilitation hospitals. All participants were unable to walk independently and required manual wheelchairs for locomotion on admission. The daily wheelchair self-propulsion distance was measured using a cycle computer that was connected to a touch switch to exclude the assistance-propulsion distance. The outcome measures were represented as the relative gain of the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) effectiveness during hospitalization. Moreover, a better functional recovery was defined as a FIM effectiveness > 50%. Participants were categorized into three groups according to tertiles of the average daily wheelchair self-propulsion distance: lowest tertile (T1, ≤0.59 km/day); middle tertile (T2, 0.60-1.23 km/day); and highest tertile (T3, ≥1.24 km/day).

Results: Multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for baseline characteristics showed that the T2 and T3 groups had a significant association with better FIM effectiveness, and their odds ratios (95% confidence interval, p) were 7.26 (1.13-45.85, p = .038), and 10.19 (1.15-91.75, p = .035), respectively.

Conclusions: The daily wheelchair self-propulsion distance was significantly associated with functional recovery in subacute stroke survivors.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONNon-ambulatory stroke survivors can obtain extra independent physical activity by using wheelchair self-propulsion, when they do not have someone to assist them with walking.This multicenter observational study revealed that the self-propulsion distance of a manual-wheelchair was significantly associated with functional recovery in subacute stroke survivors.

Keywords: Stroke; functional recovery; physical activity; rehabilitation; wheelchairs.