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Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 13;9(1):1985. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37982-w.

Effects of high intensity speed-based treadmill training on ambulatory function in people with chronic stroke: A preliminary study with long-term follow-up.

Author information

1
Brain Plasticity Laboratory, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA. smadhava@uic.edu.
2
Brain Plasticity Laboratory, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
3
Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Abstract

High intensity treadmill training has shown to be beneficial for stroke survivors, yet the feasibility and long-term effects remain unclear. In this study, we aimed to determine whether a 4-week high intensity speed-based treadmill training (HISTT) is feasible for chronic stroke survivors, and we examined its effects on ambulatory function, and long-term retention. Sixteen individuals post-stroke participated in 40 minutes of HISTT for four weeks at a frequency of three sessions per week. Gait speed was measured using the 10-meter walk test, endurance was measured using the 6-minute walk test, and quality of life was assessed using the Stroke Impact Scale (SIS) at baseline, post-training, and at 3-month follow-up. All participants successfully completed the training without any serious adverse events. Participants significantly increased fastest walking speed by 19%, self-selected walking speed by 18%, and walking endurance by 12% after the training. These improvements were maintained for 3 months after the intervention. Our results indicate that this modified speed-based high intensity walking program has the potential to be a feasible and effective method of gait training for stroke survivors. However, the small sample size and lack of a control group warrant caution in interpretation of results. Further studies are recommended to better understand effectiveness of this protocol in combination with other physical therapy interventions for functional recovery after stroke.

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