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Fatigue After Stroke Trial (FAST): A randomised controlled study

Fatigue is experienced by more than 50% of stroke survivors, and leads to reduced independence and quality of life.

Aims

To determine the effect of a physical activity behaviour change intervention on post-stroke fatigue and quality of life.

Design: Randomised Control Trial

Current status: Recruitment is ongoing

Site/s: Austin Hospital, Melbourne

In spite of its importance to stroke survivors, there are no proven means of minimizing this fatigue.

We plan to conduct a novel randomised controlled trial (RCT) to establish whether a 10-week intervention that increases the frequency and duration of physical activity after stroke will reduce fatigue and improve quality of life. Our goal is to increase habitual activity levels through long-term behaviour change; the intervention is not reliant on specialised equipment or services. Outcomes will be assessed before and after the intervention period. In addition to the primary outcomes of fatigue and quality of life, we will assess physical activity levels, sleep, fitness, muscle strength, depression and anxiety. Currently, there is uncertainty about whether to prescribe exercise or rest to stroke survivors with fatigue. Evidence that physical activity improves post-stroke fatigue has the potential to change practice, translating directly into clinical guidelines.

Key references:

Cumming TB & Mead G (2015). Post-stroke fatigue: Common but poorly understood. In: Management of Post-stroke Complications, A Bhalla & J Birns (eds). Springer.

Mead GE, Graham C, Dorman P, Bruins SK, Lewis SC, Dennis MS, et al. Fatigue after stroke: Baseline predictors and influence on survival. Analysis of data from UK patients recruited in the international stroke trial. PLoS ONE. 2011;6:e16988.

Zedlitz AM, Rietveld TC, Geurts AC, Fasotti L. Cognitive and graded activity training can alleviate persistent fatigue after stroke: A randomized, controlled trial. Stroke. 2012;43:1046-1051.

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