Medicine (Austin & Northern Health) - Research Publications

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    Fatal and Nonfatal Events Within 14 days After Early, Intensive Mobilization Poststroke
    Bernhardt, J ; Borschmann, K ; Collier, JM ; Thrift, AG ; Langhorne, P ; Middleton, S ; Lindley, RI ; Dewey, HM ; Bath, P ; Said, CM ; Churilov, L ; Ellery, F ; Bladin, C ; Reid, CM ; Frayne, JH ; Srikanth, V ; Read, SJ ; Donnan, GA (LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2021-02-23)
    OBJECTIVE: This tertiary analysis from AVERT examined fatal and non-fatal Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) at 14 days. METHOD: AVERT was a prospective, parallel group, assessor blinded, randomized international clinical trial comparing mobility training commenced <24 hours post stroke, termed very early mobilization (VEM) to usual care (UC). Primary outcome was assessed at 3 months. Included: Patients with ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke within 24 hours of onset. Treatment with thrombolytics allowed. Excluded: Patients with severe premorbid disability and/or comorbidities. Interventions continued for 14 days or hospital discharge if less. The primary early safety outcome was fatal SAEs within 14 days. Secondary outcomes were non-fatal SAEs classified as neurologic, immobility-related, and other. Mortality influences were assessed using binary logistic regression adjusted for baseline stroke severity (NIHSS) and age. RESULTS: 2,104 participants were randomized to VEM (n = 1,054) or UC (n = 1,050) with a median age of 72 years (IQR 63-80) and NIHSS 7 (IQR 4-12). By 14 days, 48 had died in VEM, 32 in UC, age and stroke severity adjusted Odds Ratio of 1.76 (95% CI 1.06-2.92, p = 0.029). Stroke progression was more common in VEM. Exploratory subgroup analyses showed higher odds of death in intracerebral haemorrhage and >80 years subgroups, but there was no significant treatment by subgroup interaction. No difference in non-fatal SAEs found. CONCLUSION: While the overall case fatality at 14 days post-stroke was only 3.8%, mortality adjusted for age and stroke severity was increased with high dose, intensive training compared to usual care. Stroke progression was more common in VEM. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class I evidence that very early mobilization increases mortality at 14 days post stroke. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12606000185561.
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    Early Mobilization After Stroke: Do Clinical Practice Guidelines Support Clinicians' Decision-Making?
    Rethnam, V ; Hayward, KS ; Bernhardt, J ; Churilov, L (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-02-05)
    Importance: Early mobilization, out-of-bed activity, is a component of acute stroke unit care; however, stroke patient heterogeneity requires complex decision-making. Clinically credible and applicable CPGs are needed to support and optimize the delivery of care. In this study, we are specifically exploring the role of clinical practice guidelines to support individual patient-level decision-making by stroke clinicians about early mobilization post-stroke. Methods: Our study uses a novel, two-pronged approach. (1) A review of CPGs containing recommendations for early mobilization practices published after 2015 was appraised using purposely selected items from the Appraisal of Guidelines Research and Evaluation-Recommendations Excellence (AGREE-REX) tool relevant to decision-making for clinicians. (2) A cross-sectional study involving semi-structured interviews with Australian expert stroke clinicians representing content experts and CPG target users. Every CPG was independently assessed against the AGREE-REX standard by two reviewers. Expert stroke clinicians, invited via email, were recruited between June 2019 to March 2020.The main outcomes from the review was the proportion of criteria addressed for each AGREE-REX item by individual and all CPG(s). The main cross-sectional outcomes were the distributions of stroke clinicians' responses about the utility of CPGs, specific areas of uncertainty in early mobilization decision-making, and suggested parameters for inclusion in future early mobilization CPGs. Results: In 18 identified CPGs, many did not adequately address the "Evidence" and "Applicability to Patients" AGREE-REX items. Out of 30 expert stroke clinicians (11 physicians [37%], 11 physiotherapists [37%], 8 nurses [26%]; median [IQR] years of experience, 14 [10-25]), 47% found current CPGs "too broad or vague," while 40% rely on individual clinical judgement and interpretation of the evidence to select an evidence-based choice of action. The areas of uncertainty in decision-making revealed four key suggestions: (1) more granular descriptions of patient and stroke characteristics for appropriate tailoring of decisions, (2) clear statements about when clinical flexibility is appropriate, (3) detailed description of the intervention dose, and (4) physical assessment criteria including safety parameters. Conclusions: The lack of specificity, clinical applicability, and adaptability of current CPGs to effectively respond to the heterogeneous clinical stroke context has provided a clear direction for improvement.
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    Factors associated with improved walking in older people during hospital rehabilitation: secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial
    Said, CM ; McGinley, JL ; Szoeke, C ; Workman, B ; Hill, KD ; Wittwer, JE ; Woodward, M ; Liew, D ; Churilov, L ; Bernhardt, J ; Morris, ME (BMC, 2021-01-31)
    BACKGROUND: Older people are often admitted for rehabilitation to improve walking, yet not everyone improves. The aim of this study was to determine key factors associated with a positive response to hospital-based rehabilitation in older people. METHODS: This was a secondary data analysis from a multisite randomized controlled trial. Older people (n= 198, median age 80.9 years, IQR 76.6- 87.2) who were admitted to geriatric rehabilitation wards with a goal to improve walking were recruited. Participants were randomized to receive additional daily physical therapy focused on mobility (n = 99), or additional social activities (n = 99). Self-selected gait speed was measured on admission and discharge. Four participants withdrew. People who changed gait speed ≥0.1 m/s were classified as 'responders' (n = 130); those that changed <0.1m/s were classified as 'non-responders' (n = 64). Multivariable logistic regression explored the association of six pre-selected participant factors (age, baseline ambulation status, frailty, co-morbidities, cognition, depression) and two therapy factors (daily supervised upright activity time, rehabilitation days) and response. RESULTS: Responding to rehabilitation was associated with the number of days in rehabilitation (OR 1.04; 95% CI 1.00 to 1.08; p = .039) and higher Mini Mental State Examination scores (OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.00 - 1.14; p = .048). No other factors were found to have association with responding to rehabilitation. CONCLUSION: In older people with complex health problems or multi-morbidities, better cognition and a longer stay in rehabilitation were associated with a positive improvement in walking speed. Further research to explore who best responds to hospital-based rehabilitation and what interventions improve rehabilitation outcomes is warranted. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12613000884707; ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01910740 .
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    Acute Hospital Admission for Stroke Is Characterised by Inactivity
    Sheedy, R ; Kramer, SF ; Johnson, L ; Shields, N ; Churilov, L ; Cadilhac, DA ; Bernhardt, J (HINDAWI LTD, 2020-02-11)
    Background. Measuring physical activity behaviours of stroke survivors in the inpatient setting is challenging. Authors of observational studies of early poststroke report that stroke survivors are “inactive and alone”. Using activity monitoring devices may help refine clinical practice and inform therapeutic activity targets. Aim. To measure the physical activity behaviour of stroke survivors during acute inpatient hospitalisation. We hypothesized that greater levels of inactivity would be positively associated with stroke severity and age. Method. Using a cross-sectional study design, consecutive stroke patients admitted to an acute stroke unit (Geelong, Australia) and recruited within 48 hours of admission had their physical activity recorded using an ActivPAL™ accelerometer device over a minimum of 3 days. Activity was categorised as time spent inactive (lying or sitting), standing, or stepping. The number of steps per day was recorded. Demographic and ActivPal™ data are described. Results. Seventy-eight stroke survivors were recruited of whom 54 had complete data for 3 days, all starting within 2 days poststroke. Of the 54 participants, 32 had a mild stroke, 17 moderate, and five severe stroke. Nine were able to walk independently at admission. The median age was 82.5 years (interquartile range (IQR) 74-86), 26 were female. On average, during their inpatient stay, participants spent a median of 98% of their admission inactive. A median of 18 minutes per day was spent standing and less than a minute per day was spent walking amounting to a median of 169 steps taken per day. Conclusion. The ActivePal™ device was feasible to use in an acute stroke setting. We observed high levels of inactivity in the first days post-stroke, highlighting the ongoing challenge of promoting activity in the acute stroke period. To our knowledge, this is the largest study to provide objective data on time spent upright, walking, and sedentary using accelerometer data in an acute stroke setting.
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    Changes in Activity Levels in the First Month after Stroke
    Kramer, SF ; Churilov, L ; Kroeders, R ; Pang, MYC ; Bernhardt, J (SOC PHYSICAL THERAPY SCIENCE, 2013-05-01)
    [Purpose] To quantify the activity levels of individuals in an acute stroke ward, and to determine if their activity levels change within the first month after stroke. [Methods] In this pilot study, participant activity was monitored prospectively over a single day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on two separate occasions. Individuals with confirmed stroke > 18 years of age and less than 15 days post-stroke at the time of recruitment were eligible for inclusion in this study. Activity was recorded using an electronic device. The first day was scheduled within 15 days and the second at four weeks post-stroke. We looked at the following activity categories: number of transitions, and the times spent lying, sitting and in dynamic activity. [Results] Sixteen individuals were included in this study with a median age of 79.5 years (interquartile range 62.5 to 85). Fifty-six % of the participants had mild, 31% had moderate and 13% had severe stroke, according to the NIHSS score. There were no significant changes in number of transitions, or times spent in dynamic activity and lying and sitting. [Conclusion] Activity levels were low at an acute stroke ward and did not significantly change within the first month.
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    Upright activity and higher motor function may preserve bone mineral density within 6 months of stroke: a longitudinal study
    Borschmann, K ; Iuliano, S ; Ghasem-Zadeh, A ; Churilov, L ; Pang, MYC ; Bernhardt, J (SPRINGER LONDON LTD, 2018-01-08)
    PURPOSE: Bone fragility contributes to increased fracture risk, but little is known about the emergence of post-stroke bone loss. We investigated skeletal changes and relationships with physical activity, stroke severity, motor control and lean mass within 6 months of stroke. METHODS: This is a prospective observational study. Participants were non-diabetic but unable to walk within 2 weeks of first stroke. Distal tibial volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD, primary outcome), bone geometry and microstructure (high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography) were assessed at baseline and 6 months, as were secondary outcomes total body bone mineral content and lean mass (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), bone metabolism (serum osteocalcin, N-terminal propeptide of type 1 procollagen (P1NP), C-terminal telopeptide of type 1 collagen (CTX)), physical activity (PAL2 accelerometer) and motor control (Chedoke McMaster) which were also measured at 1 and 3 months. RESULTS: Thirty-seven participants (69.7 years (SD 11.6), 37.8% females, NIHSS 12.6 (SD 4.7)) were included. The magnitude of difference in vBMD between paretic and non-paretic legs increased within 6 months, with a greater reduction observed in paretic legs (mean difference = 1.5% (95% CI 0.5, 2.6), p = 0.007). At 6 months, better motor control was associated with less bone loss since stroke (r = 0.46, p = 0.02). A trend towards less bone loss was observed in people who regained independent walking compared to those who did not (p = 0.053). Higher baseline daily count of standing up was associated with less change in bone turnover over 6 months: osteocalcin (r = -0.51, p = 0.01), P1NP (r = -0.47, p = 0.01), CTX (r = -0.53, p = 0.01). CONCLUSION: Better motor control and walking recovery were associated with reduced bone loss. Interventions targeting these impairments from early post-stroke are warranted. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: http://www.anzctr.org.au . Unique identifier: ACTRN12612000123842.
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    Economic evaluation of a phase III international randomised controlled trial of very early mobilisation after stroke (AVERT)
    Gao, L ; Sheppard, L ; Wu, O ; Churilov, L ; Mohebbi, M ; Collier, J ; Bernhardt, J ; Ellery, F ; Dewey, H ; Moodie, M (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-05-01)
    OBJECTIVES: While very early mobilisation (VEM) intervention for stroke patients was shown not to be effective at 3 months, 12 month clinical and economical outcomes remain unknown. The aim was to assess cost-effectiveness of a VEM intervention within a phase III randomised controlled trial (RCT). DESIGN: An economic evaluation alongside a RCT, and detailed resource use and cost analysis over 12 months post-acute stroke. SETTING: Multi-country RCT involved 58 stroke centres. PARTICIPANTS: 2104 patients with acute stroke who were admitted to a stroke unit. INTERVENTION: A very early rehabilitation intervention within 24 hours of stroke onset METHODS: Cost-utility analyses were undertaken according to pre-specified protocol measuring VEM against usual care (UC) based on 12 month outcomes. The analysis was conducted using both health sector and societal perspectives. Unit costs were sourced from participating countries. Details on resource use (both health and non-health) were sourced from cost case report form. Dichotomised modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores (0 to 2 vs 3 to 6) and quality adjusted-life years (QALYs) were used to compare the treatment effect of VEM and UC. The base case analysis was performed on an intention-to-treat basis and 95% CI for cost and QALYs were estimated by bootstrapping. Sensitivity analysis were conducted to examine the robustness of base case results. RESULTS: VEM and UC groups were comparable in the quantity of resource use and cost of each component. There were no differences in the probability of achieving a favourable mRS outcome (0.030, 95% CI -0.022 to 0.082), QALYs (0.013, 95% CI -0.041 to 0.016) and cost (AUD1082, 95% CI -$2520 to $4685 from a health sector perspective or AUD102, 95% CI -$6907 to $7111, from a societal perspective including productivity cost). Sensitivity analysis achieved results with mostly overlapped CIs. CONCLUSIONS: VEM and UC were associated with comparable costs, mRS outcome and QALY gains at 12 months. Compared with to UC, VEM is unlikely to be cost-effective. The long-term data collection during the trial also informed resource use and cost of care post-acute stroke across five participating countries. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12606000185561; Results.
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    A systematic review protocol of timing, efficacy and cost effectiveness of upper limb therapy for motor recovery post-stroke
    Hayward, KS ; Kramer, SF ; Thijs, V ; Ratcliffe, J ; Ward, NS ; Churilov, L ; Jolliffe, L ; Corbett, D ; Cloud, G ; Kaffenberger, T ; Brodtmann, A ; Bernhardt, J ; Lannin, NA (BMC, 2019-07-25)
    BACKGROUND: Improving upper limb (UL) motor recovery after stroke represents a major clinical and scientific goal. We aim to complete three systematic reviews to estimate the (1) association between time to start of UL therapy and motor recovery, (2) relative efficacy of different UL therapy approaches post-stroke and (3) cost-effectiveness of UL therapy interventions. METHODS: We have designed a systematic review protocol to address three systematic review questions that were each registered with PROSPERO. The search will be conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Controlled Register of Trials. We will include randomised controlled trials, non-randomised clinical trials, before-after studies and observational studies of adult stroke survivors with an average stroke onset < 6 months, undergoing hospital-based therapy to improve UL function. Eligible interventions will aim to promote UL functional recovery. Two reviewers will independently screen, select and extract data. Study risk of bias will be appraised using appropriate tools. Clinical measures of motor recovery will be investigated (primary measure Fugl Meyer UL assessment), as well as measures of health-related quality of life (primary measure EQ-5D) and all cost-effectiveness analyses completed. Secondary outcomes include therapy dose (minutes, weeks, repetitions as available) and safety (i.e. adverse events, serious adverse events). A narrative synthesis will describe quality and content of the evidence. If feasible, we will conduct random effects meta-analyses where appropriate. DISCUSSION: We anticipate the findings of this review will increase our understanding of UL therapy and inform the generation of novel, data-driven hypotheses for future UL therapy research post-stroke. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: PROSPERO, http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.php?ID=CRD42018019367, http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.php?ID=CRD42018111629, http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.php?ID=CRD42018111628.
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    A stroke recovery trial development framework: Consensus-based core recommendations from the Second Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable
    Bernhardt, J ; Hayward, KS ; Dancause, N ; Lannin, NA ; Ward, NS ; Nudo, RJ ; Farrin, A ; Churilov, L ; Boyd, LA ; Jones, TA ; Carmichael, ST ; Corbett, D ; Cramer, SC (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2019-10-29)
    A major goal of the Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable (SRRR) is to accelerate development of effective treatments to enhance stroke recovery beyond that expected to occur spontaneously or with current approaches. In this paper, we describe key issues for the next generation of stroke recovery treatment trials and present the Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable Trials Development Framework (SRRR-TDF). An exemplar (an upper limb recovery trial) is presented to demonstrate the utility of this framework to guide the GO, NO-GO decision-making process in trial development.
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    Rationale for Intervention and Dose Is Lacking in Stroke Recovery Trials: A Systematic Review
    Borschmann, K ; Hayward, KS ; Raffelt, A ; Churilov, L ; Kramer, S ; Bernhardt, J (HINDAWI LTD, 2018-01-01)
    BACKGROUND: The ineffectiveness of most complex stroke recovery trials may be explained by inadequate intervention design. The primary aim of this review was to explore the rationales given for interventions and dose in stroke rehabilitation randomised controlled trials (RCTs). METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group library for RCTs that met the following criteria: (1) training based intervention; (2) >50% participants who were stroke survivors; (3) full peer-reviewed text; (4) English language. We extracted data on 16 quality items covering intervention dose (n= 3), trial design (n= 10), and risk of bias (n= 3) and 18 items related to trial method. Logistic regression analyses were performed to determine whether (1) reporting of trial quality items changed over time; (2) reporting of quality items was associated with the likelihood of a positive trial, adjusted for sample size and number of outcomes. RESULTS: 27 Cochrane reviews were included, containing 9,044 participants from 194 trials. Publication dates were 1979 to 2013, sample size was median 32 (IQR 20,58), and primary outcome was reported in 49 trials (25%). The median total quality score was 4 (IQR 3,6) and improved significantly each year (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.07, 1.16, p<0.001). Total quality score was not associated with likelihood of a positive trial, but trials containing a biological rationale for the intervention were more likely to find a difference in patient outcome (OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.14, 4.19, p=0.02). CONCLUSION: To develop breakthrough treatments we need to build the rationale for research interventions and testing of intervention dosage. This will be achieved through a collective research agenda to understand the mechanistic principles that drive recovery and identification of clearer targets for clinical trials.