JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Cost-effectiveness of a structured progressive task-oriented circuit class training programme to enhance walking competency after stroke: the protocol of the FIT-Stroke trial

Ingrid G L van de Port, Lotte Wevers, Hanneke Roelse, Lenneke van Kats, Eline Lindeman, Gert Kwakkel
BMC Neurology 2009 August 13, 9: 43
19674485

BACKGROUND: Most patients who suffer a stroke experience reduced walking competency and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). A key factor in effective stroke rehabilitation is intensive, task-specific training. Recent studies suggest that intensive, patient-tailored training can be organized as a circuit with a series of task-oriented workstations. Primary aim of the FIT-Stroke trial is to evaluate the effects and cost-effectiveness of a structured, progressive task-oriented circuit class training (CCT) programme, compared to usual physiotherapeutic care during outpatient rehabilitation in a rehabilitation centre. The task-oriented CCT will be applied in groups of 4 to 6 patients. Outcome will be defined in terms of gait and gait-related ADLs after stroke. The trial will also investigate the generalizability of treatment effects of task-oriented CCT in terms of perceived fatigue, anxiety, depression and perceived HRQoL.

METHODS/DESIGN: The multicentre single-blinded randomized trial will include 220 stroke patients discharged to the community from inpatient rehabilitation, who are able to communicate and walk at least 10 m without physical, hands-on assistance. After discharge from inpatient rehabilitation, patients in the experimental group will receive task-oriented CCT two times a week for 12 weeks at the physiotherapy department of the rehabilitation centre. Control group patients will receive usual individual, face-to-face, physiotherapy. Costs will be evaluated by having each patient keep a cost diary for the first 24 weeks after randomisation. Primary outcomes are the mobility part of the Stroke Impact Scale (SIS-3.0) and the EuroQol. Secondary outcomes are the other domains of SIS-3.0, lower limb muscle strength, walking endurance, gait speed, balance, confidence not to fall, instrumental ADL, fatigue, anxiety, depression and HRQoL.

DISCUSSION: Based on assumptions about the effect of intensity of practice and specificity of treatment effects, FIT-Stroke will address two key aims. The first aim is to investigate the effects of task-oriented CCT on walking competency and HRQoL compared to usual face-to-face physiotherapy. The second aim is to reveal the cost-effectiveness of task-oriented CCT in the first 6 months post stroke. Both aims were recently recommended as priorities by the American Hearth Association and Stroke Council.

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