Effects of Exercise on Quality of Life in Stroke Survivors
Background and Purpose—One of the major consequences after stroke is the deterioration in health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Three previous systematic reviews indicated that exercise has limited to no effect in improving HRQOL in stroke survivors. The objective of this meta-analysis was to update the evidence on exercise and HRQOL in stroke survivors with additional new information on randomized controlled trials that have been published since these 3 previous reviews.
Methods—MEDLINE, Cumulated Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, EMBASE, and SportsDiscus databases were searched for randomized controlled trials reporting the effects of exercise on HRQOL in stroke survivors from 1950 to March 2010. The methodological quality of each study was appraised using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. Standardized mean difference was used to compute effect size and subgroup analysis was conducted to test the consistency of results across the subgroups with different characteristics.
Results—A total of 1101 citations was identified and 9 studies met all criteria for a total sample of 426 stroke survivors. Eight studies were rated as good quality (ie, Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale ≥5). This meta-analysis provided evidence that exercise can have a small to medium effect on HRQOL outcomes (standardized mean difference, 0.32, P<0.01) at postintervention but not at follow-up after exercise was terminated (standardized mean difference, 0.17, P=0.12). No adverse events related to exercise were reported.
Conclusions—The results provide moderate support for the use of exercise to improve HRQOL in stroke survivors. However, the challenge for researchers is identifying effective strategies for sustaining these effects postintervention.
- Received November 2, 2010.
- Revision received December 13, 2010.
- Accepted December 14, 2010.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.