Baer, Gill and Dennis, M and Pitman, D and Salisbury, Lisa and Smith, M (2009) Does treadmill training improve walking after stroke – the long-term follow-up from a phase II randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Stroke, 4 (s2). p. 8. ISSN 1747-4930
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Introduction: A recent Cochrane review has indicated that current evidence for the effectiveness of Treadmill Training (TT) following stroke is inconclusive. This paper reports the 6 month follow up of mobility outcomes from a phase II feasibility randomised-controlled trial investigating an eight week TT programme with ambulant and non-ambulant people with sub-acute stroke. Method: Sub-acute stroke patients within 3 months of stroke onset were recruited from four stroke rehabilitation units. Randomisation based on side of lesion and initial independence or dependence in walking allocated participants to receive either an eight week programme of ‘‘usual physiotherapy’’ (control) or physiotherapy including TT (experimental). Mobility outcomes taken at baseline and 6 months after randomisation included: the Modified Rivermead Mobility Index (RMI); Functional Ambulation Classification (FAC); Timed Up and Go (TUG); 10 min walk test (10 mwt); and the 6 min walk test (6 mwt). Results: Seventy-seven participants were recruited, 39 were randomised to control, and 38 to experimental. At 6 months post randomisation, while both groups had improved their mobility scores, Mann–Whitney U-tests showed no significant differences between the groups for RMI (U=481.5; p=0.421); FAC (U=488; p=0.457); TUG (U=204; p=0.678); 10 mwt (U=262; p=0.956) or 6 mwt (U=194.5; p=0.892). Conclusion: The results indicated that while both groups improved their mobility scores from baseline measures, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups at 6 months. The amount and content of ‘‘usual physiotherapy’’ and TT is being analysed to determine whether this may be one of the influencing factors.
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