With the prevalence of stroke increasing in the USA and the world along with increased survival and longevity due to medical advancements, it has become increasingly necessary to look at the chronic phase of stroke recovery. Previous paradigms of stroke treatment have proven ineffective when looking at 10, 15, or 20 years of survival post insult.Patient Concerns:
The patient, being a young man just out of high school, was concerned with his overall morbidity. He was highly concerned with the quality of life he could expect as a stroke survivor with a life expectancy of 60 years or more.Diagnoses:
C was diagnosed with a hemorrhagic AVM stroke that impacted several regions of the brain, particularly the right occipital and temporal lobes as well as bilateral motor control. C experienced severe hpertonicity of the musculature and significant vertigo.Interventions:
This study investigated a novel approach to chronic-phase stroke rehabilitation using traditional child motor-learning techniques, play, and proprioceptive-building activities in addition to current stroke rehabilitation techniques. During an initial six-month period, followed by a three-year period, the participant used motor-developmental learning activities as well as traditional strength, gait, and balance training. During the initial phase of treatment, clinically-significant improvements were recorded along with self-reported lifestyle enhancements. These gains continued throughout the three-and-a-half year process.Outcomes:
C regained the ability to free-walk in small bouts and went from the use of a walker to canes. He regained use of his hands and removed a large partion of his vertigo. Of specific interest was the participant's ability to progress from using a walker to driving, returning to school, and starting a family.Lessons:
This study lays the groundwork for future studies into this type of therapeutic approach as well as highlighting the ability of chronic-phase stroke patients to recover well into the second decade post stroke. After the initial six month period, as gains were being observed, a more formal measurement process was begun for a second six-month period. Initial measurements of progress were taken every six weeks using the Fugl-Meyer test, the Berg Balance Test, the Barthel Index, and the Stroke Specific Quality Of Life scale. Results showed clinically significant improvements in all areas of recovery.