JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute Publishes New Research   
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JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute Publishes New Research

What you need to know

JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute has published a study based on its latest research from the ongoing Stroke-HEARTTM Trials. The findings have the potential to change the future of stroke care. 

The new research published in the Journal of Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases found survivors of serious stroke can reduce their chances of dying within the year by 76% if they complete a modified cardiac rehabilitation program that includes medically supervised exercise, prescribed therapy, and physician follow-up.

The study shows that participants in the JFK Johnson Stroke Recovery Program also significantly improved exercise capacity, mobility, self-care, and cognition. 

The study also participants saw a 78% increase in their cardiovascular capacity. The Stroke Recovery Program participants showed steady improvement in scores related to mobility, self-care, and communication/cognition. Research results show the matched pairs function similarly at the beginning of the study; over time, the study SRP participants perform better compared to the non-participants as they move forward with the Stroke Recovery Program.

The researchers hope the ongoing research will persuade the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover comprehensive stroke rehabilitation the same way cardiac rehabilitation is covered in people who have cardiac events; both stroke and cardiac events involve the vascular system.

Future phases of Stroke-HEARTTM Trials will include other rehabilitation institutes as the research expands nationally.

About the JFK Johnson Stroke Recovery Program

The JFK Johnson Stroke Recovery Program (SRP) provides 36 sessions of medically monitored interval cardiovascular training — as well as follow-up visits with a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician along with psychological, nutritional, and educational support and risk factor (such as smoking, diet, and exercise) management. The research found that stroke patients, even those who may experience hemiplegia, can exercise safely with some modifications, such as the use of recumbent bicycles. 

The research follows survivors with strokes serious enough to require inpatient hospital rehabilitation at JFK Johnson. The study so far has included more than 1,600 stroke survivors. Because stroke can vary greatly from one survivor to the next, the study created a subgroup of patients closely matched for gender, race, type of stroke, age, medical complexity, and functional scores at hospital discharge. 

Of 449 patients in this subgroup, 246 completed the program. Among the patients who completed the program, four died within a year of their stroke. Among the non-participants, 14 patients died. This translates into a four-fold reduction in one-year all-cause mortality.

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