Rehabilitation for cardiac (heart) patients is well established, and includes group cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel health) exercises. Currently, rehabilitation for stroke patients focuses on retraining physical movement to learn practical skills.
There is evidence which shows that current cardiovascular rehabilitation is useful for stroke survivors. However, many issues remain unclear, including what levels of stroke disability can be helped, and how stroke risk is reduced.
The current study wants to find the best way of judging the effectiveness of cardiovascular rehabilitation for stroke survivors in the early stages of recovery. These patients are known as sub-acute stroke patients (between 1 week and 4 months after stroke).
The study will judge the attitudes of 20 stroke patients (and their carers), and health professionals toward cardiac rehabilitation. This will be through interviews and focus-groups.
40 stroke patients will also be involved in cardiovascular testing to determine the best way to test their fitness.
Upward of 40 stroke patients will then participate in a modified cardiac rehabilitation programme, which includes cardiovascular exercise sessions, twice a week, for six weeks. The main measurement of the effectiveness of this programme will be the best way to test cardiovascular fitness previously determined in the study.
If successful, this feasability study will inform and lead to a much larger, multi-centred trial in the UK.