Most of the members of the therapeutic team in stroke rehabilitation take the effectiveness of physical treatments after stroke for granted. Yet, published data show that the evidence is not so straightforward or easy to evaluate. The majority of the hard evidence, however, does imply that stroke patients benefit from rehabilitation with physiotherapy. This benefit may be statistically small, but for a given individual, it could mean the difference between living at home or in an institution. Few studies address the question of the optimal physiotherapy in stroke rehabilitation. The evidence available today suggests that it does not matter which form of treatment is chosen and that any of the available approaches will improve the patient's functional status. In other words, if an optimal treatment exists, we have, so far, failed to identify it. Until further evidence emerges, we should therefore select therapies that are most cost-effective and that can be given to the largest number of patients. Well-planned clinical trials aimed at finding the best approach and discriminating potential responders from nonresponders are urgently needed.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association