Fatal and non-fatal events within 14 days after early, intensive mobilization post stroke

Neurology. 2020 Nov 3;96(8):e1156-e1166. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000011106. Online ahead of print.


Objective: This tertiary analysis from AVERT examined fatal and non-fatal Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) at 14 days.

Method: AVERT was a prospective, parallel group, assessor blinded, randomized international clinical trial comparing mobility training commenced <24 hours post stroke, termed very early mobilization (VEM) to usual care (UC). Primary outcome was assessed at 3 months. Included: Patients with ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke within 24 hours of onset. Treatment with thrombolytics allowed. Excluded: Patients with severe premorbid disability and/or comorbidities. Interventions continued for 14 days or hospital discharge if less. The primary early safety outcome was fatal SAEs within 14 days. Secondary outcomes were non-fatal SAEs classified as neurologic, immobility-related, and other. Mortality influences were assessed using binary logistic regression adjusted for baseline stroke severity (NIHSS) and age.

Results: 2,104 participants were randomized to VEM (n = 1,054) or UC (n = 1,050) with a median age of 72 years (IQR 63-80) and NIHSS 7 (IQR 4-12). By 14 days, 48 had died in VEM, 32 in UC, age and stroke severity adjusted Odds Ratio of 1.76 (95% CI 1.06-2.92, p = 0.029). Stroke progression was more common in VEM. Exploratory subgroup analyses showed higher odds of death in intracerebral haemorrhage and >80 years subgroups, but there was no significant treatment by subgroup interaction. No difference in non-fatal SAEs found.

Conclusion: While the overall case fatality at 14 days post-stroke was only 3.8%, mortality adjusted for age and stroke severity was increased with high dose, intensive training compared to usual care. Stroke progression was more common in VEM.

Classification of evidence: This study provides Class I evidence that very early mobilization increases mortality at 14 days post stroke.

Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12606000185561.