Cardiorespiratory Stress is not Achieved During Routine Physiotherapy in Chronic Stroke
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Background: Cardiorespiratory deconditioning is a well-established sequel of stroke and this may interfere with integration into community. In the chronic phase, when motor recovery has plateaued, rehabilitation should include cardiorespiratory training. Objective: To determine whether physiotherapy rehabilitation in the chronic phase of stroke provides enough stress in terms of duration (>10 min) and intensity (>40% of heart rate reserve - HRR) to induce cardiorespiratory benefits. Methods: Two physiotherapy sessions, at least one week apart, of 20 chronic stroke patients (mean time since the onset of the stroke of 26 months, mean age of 58 years, 45% male) were observed, in terms of duration (time) and intensity (40 %HRR). The activities were categorized as upper limb tasks, standing, stepping, basic walking, and advanced walking. Average duration and intensity for each participant across the two sessions were determined. Results: Lower limb activities, such as standing and walking were undertaken for 25 (SD 5) minutes; comprising 57% of the total session. The remainder of the session was taken up with upper limb activities (27%) or inactivity (16%). None of the activities reached the target intensity, with the highest average intensity being achieved during advanced walking (mean 32% HRR, SD 2). Conclusions: Routine physiotherapy did not provide sufficient duration or intensity to induce cardiorespiratory stress in this group of chronic stroke patients. The evidence practice gap needs to be closed for cardiorespiratory fitness to be trained.
International Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
© 2014 Polese JC, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified