Can Early Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Protocol Improve Disability after a Hemiparetic Stroke? A Pilot Study

Brain Sci. 2022 Jun 22;12(7):816. doi: 10.3390/brainsci12070816.

Abstract

The impairment of limb function and disability are among the most im portant consequences of stroke. To date, however, little research has been done on the early reha bilitation trial (ERT) after stroke in these patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of ERT neuromuscular protocol on motor function soon after hemiparetic stroke. The sample included twelve hemiparetic patients (54.3 ± 15.4 years old) with ischemic stroke (n = 7 control, n = 5 intervention patients). ERTwas started as early as possible after stroke and included passive range of motion exercises, resistance training, assisted standing up, and active exercises of the healthy side of the body, in addition to encouraging voluntary contraction of affected limbs as much as possible. The rehabilitation was progressive and took 3 months, 6 days per week, 2-3 h per session. Fu gle-Meyer Assessment (FMA), Box and Blocks test (BBT) and Timed up and go (TUG) assessments were conducted. There was a significantly greater improvement in the intervention group com pared to control: FMA lower limbs (p = 0.001), total motor function (p = 0.002), but no significant difference in FMA upper limb between groups (p = 0.51). The analysis of data related to BBT showed no significant differences between the experimental and control groups (p = 0.3). However, TUG test showed significant differences between the experimental and control groups (p = 0.004). The most important finding of this study was to spend enough time in training sessions and provide adequate rest time for each person. Our results showed that ERT was associated with improved motor function but not with the upper limbs. This provides a basis for a definitive trial.

Keywords: acute stroke; early rehabilitation trial; exercise therapy; motor function.

Grant support

This research received no external funding.