100-strong crowd learns results of Leicester stroke and exercise study

The results of a 3-year study into stroke patients and exercise was shared with funders, patients and carers at an event held in the Centre for Medicine at the University of Leicester today (18 July 2017).

The research, carried out by clinical researchers at our University and Leicester’s Hospitals has successfully recruited 92 people who have had a stroke to take part in a feasibility study funded by the Stroke Association. 

The study aimed to understand patients’ and therapists’ attitudes to stroke patients attending cardiac rehabilitation and also aimed to find out how feasible this programme was for people who had had a mild or moderate stroke. 

Cardiac rehabilitation is a programme of exercise and information sessions to improve the strength of the patient’s heart, help them to recover following illness and make lifestyle changes to reduce the risks of another stroke in the future.

Nicola Clague-Baker, Physiotherapy Research Lead at Leicester’s Hospitals and lecturer at our University said: “Part of the study looked at the attitudes of patients who had suffered a mild or moderate stroke towards exercise and improving their health. 

“We found that whilst many patients wanted to exercise, they did not have a clear understanding of what sort of exercise might be appropriate for them. This could either be because there wasn’t sufficient information given to the patient or because they struggled to recall information given to them during consultations with medical staff.

“In turn, staff felt that existing cardiac rehabilitation programmes could be adapted for patients who had been mildly disabled by a stroke, but those with more severe disabilities would need new programmes to be devised.” 

Patrick Cheney, 59, of Griffydam, Leicestershire, participated in part of the study. In April 2016, Patrick suffered a stroke caused by an ulcer in his carotid artery. He said: “Before the stroke I was into squash, off-road cycling and a keen walker. I agreed to take part because I wanted to get back into the gym, to have that nice feeling of getting sweaty again!

“The study became a platform for me; it spurred me to carry on and join a specialist gym. I now feel fitter, less fatigued, have a strong core and an all-round higher level of well-being. I’m even back to work full-time.”

As well as hearing the results of the study, the attendees took part in discussions about further research.

Dr Shamim Quadir, Research Communications Manager at the Stroke Association said: “Listening to the patient voice is the key to conducting impactful stroke research. After a stroke, survivors and their families are often left to work out what exercise to do themselves, so this is a really important day. Not only have we found out the results of this study to help support them, but the patients who took part will be actively involved on where the research should go in the future.”