Author(s): Strmmen AM, Christensen T, Jensen K
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to quantitatively measure and describe the amount and pattern of physical activity in patients within the first week after acute ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack using accelerometers.
METHODS: A total of 100 patients with acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack admitted to our acute stroke unit wore Actical accelerometers attached to both wrists and ankles and the hip for ≤7 days. Patients were included within 72 hours of symptom onset. Accelerometer output was measured in activity counts (AC). Patients were tested daily with Scandinavian Stroke Scale.
RESULTS: Physical activity peaked in the morning and declined during the rest of the day. In patients with stroke, total AC were 71% lower than in patients with transient ischemic attack. AC were 80% lower in the paretic compared with those in the nonparetic arm in patients with ischemic stroke. For the legs AC were 44% lower on the paretic side and an overall increase in AC with time was found. There was a significant increase in AC with increasing Scandinavian Stroke Scale and a decrease in AC with increasing age.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the feasibility of using accelerometers to quantitatively and continuously measure physical activity simultaneously from all 4 extremities and the hip in patients with acute ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack. Our study provides quantitative evidence of physical inactivity in patients with acute ischemic stroke. The method offers a low cost and noninvasive tool for future clinical interventional physiotherapeutic and early mobilization studies