In a nutshell
This study reviewed different rehabilitation programs for stroke survivors. Researchers suggested that aerobic programs (AP) are associated with improved outcomes for these patients.
A cut-off of blood flow to the brain causes a stroke. Brain cells stop receiving oxygen and begin to die. The abilities controlled by these cells are lost leaving patients with disabilities such as arm paralysis. Prior studies showed that physical exercise improves the recovery of these patients and decreases the risk of another stroke.
It is known that AP helps the recovery of patients with heart disease. AP consists of physical exercises that promote the circulation of oxygen through the blood with an increased rate of breathing. However, it is not clear if this type of exercise would improve the recovery of stroke survivors.
Methods & findings
This study reviewed other 19 studies with 23 eligible groups. Patients received AP 18 to 36 times over 8 to 18 weeks (matching the US program for heart disease). The 6-minute walk test (the distance walked in 6 minutes), oxygen flow and walking speed were assessed.
Stroke survivors who received AP had an improved aerobic capacity. These patients had an improved 6-minute walk test. Patients who received AP walked an extra average of 53.3 meters.
The bottom line
This study concluded that AP with similar dosing to heart rehabilitation program improves the outcomes of stroke survivors.
The fine print
This study included mainly stroke survivors with mild disability. Further studies with more severely disabled patients are needed.
Published By :
Journal of the American Heart Association
Aug 20, 2019