Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 88-98

Very early mobilization following acute stroke: Controversies, the unknowns, and a way forward


National Stroke Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia and School of Physiotherapy, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Julie Bernhardt
Director AVERT Very Early Rehabilitation Research Program, National Stroke Research Institute, 300 Waterdale Rd, Heidelberg Heights, 3081, Victoria
Australia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Evidence that organized stroke-unit care results in better outcome has led to positive changes in stroke service delivery around the world. It is well accepted that stroke rehabilitation should commence as early as possible for optimal recovery to be achieved. Exactly how early rehabilitation should start is controversial. Early mobilization (getting up out of bed within 24 h of stroke onset) is a well-established feature of acute stroke care in many Scandinavian hospitals. Elsewhere in the world, stroke protocols enforce bed rest for the first few days or foster long periods of bed rest after stroke. This paper aims to provide an overview of the topic of very early mobilization (VEM). It is divided into three sections: section 1 reviews the effects of bed rest and outlines arguments both for and against enforced bed rest after stroke; in section 2, VEM as a treatment for stroke and the limitations of existing literature in the field are described; and section 3 outlines the systematic approach that has been taken by our team of clinical researchers to the study the effect of VEM after stroke. Conclusion: VEM represents a simple, easy-to-deliver intervention, requiring little or no equipment. It is potentially deliverable to 85% of the acute stroke population and, if proven to be effective, may help reduce the significant personal and community burden of stroke. As current opinion about when mobilization should begin is divided, one way to move forward is through the conduct of a large high-quality clinical trial (such as A Very Early Rehabilitation Trial (AVERT)). Although some inroads have been made, further research in this field is clearly warranted


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