Ambulatory monitoring of activity levels of individuals in the sub-acute stage following stroke: a case series
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BACKGROUND: There is an important need to better understand the activities of individual patients with stroke outside of structured therapy since this activity is likely to have a profound influence on recovery. A case-study approach was used to examine the activity levels and associated physiological load of patients with stroke throughout a day. METHODS: Activities and physiologic measures were recorded during a continuous 8 hour period from 4 individuals in the sub-acute stage following stroke (ranging from 49 to 80 years old; 4 to 8 weeks post-stroke) in an in-patient rehabilitation hospital. RESULTS: Both heart rate (p = 0.0207) and ventilation rate (p < 0.0001) increased as intensity of activity increased. Results revealed individual differences in physiological response to daily activities, and large ranges in physiological response measures during 'moderately' and 'highly' therapeutic activities. CONCLUSION: Activity levels of individuals with stroke during the day were generally low, though task-related changes in physiologic measures were observed. Large variability in the physiological response to even the activities deemed to be greatest intensity suggests that inclusion of such extended measurement of physiologic measures may improve understanding of physiological profile that could guide elements of the physical therapy prescription.
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