Cognitive and Graded Activity Training Can Alleviate Persistent Fatigue After Stroke
A Randomized, Controlled Trial
Background and Purpose—Fatigue is a common, persistent consequence of stroke, and no evidence-based treatments are currently available to alleviate fatigue. A new treatment combining cognitive therapy (CO) with graded activity training (GRAT), called COGRAT, was developed to alleviate fatigue and fatigue-related symptoms. This study compared the effectiveness of the COGRAT intervention with a CO-only intervention after a 3-month qualification period without intervention.
Methods—This randomized, controlled, assessor-blind clinical trial was conducted in 8 rehabilitation centers. Eighty-three stroke patients (>4 months after stroke) were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of CO or COGRAT after qualification. Seventy-three patients completed treatment and 68 were available at follow-up. Primary outcomes (Checklist Individual Strength–subscale Fatigue (CIS-f); self-observation list–fatigue (SOL-f)) and secondary outcomes (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Stroke-Adapted Sickness Impact Profile, SOL-pain, SOL-sleep-D, 6-minute walk test) were collected at baseline (before and after qualification period) and after treatment (immediate and 6-month follow-up).
Results—The qualification period showed stable outcome measures. Both treatments showed significant beneficial effects on fatigue (CIS-f: ηp2=0.48, P<0.001) and other outcomes (except pain and anxiety) with intention-to-treat analyses. Gains for the COGRAT group exceeded those in the CO group on number of individuals showing clinical improvement on the CIS-f (≥8 points: 58% versus 24%) and on physical endurance (ηp2=0.20, P<0.001).
Conclusions—A 12-week cognitive therapy program can alleviate persistent fatigue after stroke. The best results are obtained when cognitive therapy is augmented with graded activity training.
Clinical Trial Registration—URL: http://www.trialregister.nl. Unique identifier: NTR2704.
- Received July 10, 2011.
- Accepted November 8, 2011.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.