regaining functional independence is an important goal for people who have experienced stroke. We hypothesized that introducing earlier and more intensive out-of-bed activity after stroke would reduce time to unassisted walking and improve independence in activities of daily living.
a Very Early Rehabilitation Trial (AVERT) was a phase II randomized controlled trial. Patients with confirmed stroke (infarct or hemorrhage) admitted <24 hours after stroke and who met physiological safety criteria were eligible. Patients randomized to the very early and intensive mobilization group were mobilized within 24 hours of stroke and at regular intervals thereafter. Control patients received standard stroke unit care. The primary outcome for this analysis was the number of days required to return to walking 50 m unassisted. Secondary outcomes were the Barthel Index and Rivermead Motor Assessment at 3 and 12 months after stroke.
seventy-one stroke patients with a mean age of 74.7 years were recruited from 2 hospitals. Adjusted Cox regression indicated that very early and intensive mobilization group patients returned to walking significantly faster than did standard stroke unit care controls (P=0.032; median 3.5 vs 7.0 days). Multivariable regression revealed that exposure to very early and intensive mobilization was independently associated with good functional outcome on the Barthel Index at 3 months (P=0.008) and on the Rivermead Motor Assessment at 3 (P=0.050) and 12 (P=0.024) months.
earlier and more intensive mobilization after stroke may fast-track return to unassisted walking and improve functional recovery. Clinical Trial Registration- This trial was not registered because enrollment began before July 2005.