Effects of task-specific and impairment-based training compared with usual care on functional walking ability after inpatient stroke rehabilitation: Leaps trial

Stephen E. Nadeau*, Samuel S. Wu, Bruce H. Dobkin, Stanley P. Azen, Dorian K. Rose, Julie K. Tilson, Steven Y. Cen, Pamela W. Duncan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. After inpatient stroke rehabilitation, many people still cannot participate in community activities because of limited walking ability. Objective. To compare the effectiveness of 2 conceptually different, early physical therapy (PT) interventions to usual care (UC) in improving walking 6 months after stroke. Methods. The Locomotor Experience Applied Post-Stroke (LEAPS) study was a single-blind, randomized controlled trial conducted in 408 adults with disabling hemiparetic stroke. Participants were stratified at baseline (2 months) by impairment in walking speed: severe (<0.4 m/s) or moderate (0.4 to <0.8 m/s). Between 2 and 6 months, they received either only UC (n = 143) or UC plus 36 therapist-provided sessions of either (1) walking training on a treadmill using body-weight support and practice overground at clinics (locomotor training program [LTP], n = 139) or (2) impairment-based strength and balance exercise at home (home exercise program [HEP], n = 126). Results. LTP participants were 18% more likely to transition to a higher functional walking level: severe to >0.4 m/s and moderate to >0.8 m/s than UC participants (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7%-29%), and HEP participants were 17% more likely to transition (95% CI = 5%-29%). Mean gain in walking speed in LTP participants was 0.13 m/s greater (95% CI = 0.09-0.18) and in HEP participants, 0.10 m/s greater (95% CI = 0.05-0.14) than in UC participants. Conclusions. Progressive PT, using either walking training on a treadmill and overground, conducted in a clinic, or strength and balance exercises conducted at home, was superior to UC in improving walking, regardless of severity of initial impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-380
Number of pages11
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • exercise
  • physical therapy
  • randomized controlled trial
  • rehabilitation outcomes
  • stroke rehabilitation
  • walking

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