Should a Patient Undergo Rehabilitation After Stroke?

  • Henrik S. Jørgensen, MD etal of the Department of Radiology, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark cocnducted a study to determine the value of post stroke rehabilitation.
    The objective of the study was  to evaluate the outcome of stroke divided according to both the severity of the initial stroke  and the  initial level of disability.
     The study took place in a  stroke unit of a hospital in Denmark that  receives all acute stroke patients admitted from a large catchment area of approximately 240,000 inhabitants within the City of Copenhagen. Under normal circumstances acute treatment as well as rehabilitation is cared for within the stroke unit regardless of age, severity of the stroke  and premorbid condition. In this study 1197 patients with acute stroke were used.
    The Main Outcome Measures were: Primary outcome was measured as death, discharge to a nursing home, or to the patient’s own home. Secondary outcome was measured as the patient having neurological deficits and/or functional disabilities after  rehabilitation was completed and then  again 6 months after the stroke occurred. The indices used were  the Scandinavian Neurological Stroke Scale and  Barthel . The results were as follows: Stroke was initially very severe in 19% of the patients, severe in 14%, moderate in 26%, and mild in  41% of the patients. Two hundred and fifty or 21% of the patients died during their hospital stay, 177 or 15% were discharged to a nursing home, and 770 or 64% of the patients were discharged to their  home. After  rehabilitation was completed  11% of the survivors still had severe or very severe neurological deficits, 11% had moderate deficits, and 78% had no or only mild deficits; 20% were severely or very severely disabled, 8% were moderately disabled, 26% were mildly disabled, and 46% had no disability in normal daily  activities. The conclusions reached were that there is a great need for stroke rehabilitation in the community and the amount of postrehabilitation disability in stroke survivors cannot be exaggerated.  Results, though, should not be used as a guideline for selecting patients for rehabilitation in the acute phase as even the most severe cases  experience meaningful improvement during rehabilitation.
    The question then becomes what is the most effective physical therapy solution that can speed recovery of the affected stroke victim’s limbs. Other than robotic machines which are large and therefore usable only in rehabilitation facilities and hospitals or are cost prohibitive the physical therapy profession has come to know of the effectiveness of the TUTOR system. Consisting of the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR these recently created products are in the forefront of stroke rehabilitation.
      These innovative devices implement an impairment based program with augmented motion feedback that encourages motor learning through intensive active exercises and movement practice. The HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR consist of wearable glove and braces that detect limb movement showing the patient how much active or assisted active movement they are actually doing. The rehabilitation software uses special rehabilitation games to set a new target for this movement in terms of the patient’s ability to move his limb. The devices then measure the limb movement and give him feedback on his success.  In this  way the Tutor system provides exercises that are challenging and motivating and allow for repetitive and intensive exercise practice. The TUTOR system is now part of the rehabilitation program of leading U.S. German, Italian, French, UK and other foreign hospitals and can be used at home through telerehabilitation. The TUTORs are fully certified by the FDA and CE. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.

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