Systematic review of rehabilitation programmes initiated within 90 days of a transient ischaemic attack or 'minor' stroke: a protocol.

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Transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) and strokes are highly prevalent conditions. Stroke killed 5.7 million people worldwide in 2005 and is estimated to cause 6.5 million deaths globally in 2015. Stroke survivors are often left with considerable disability. Many strokes are preceded by a TIA/'minor' stroke in the previous 90 days and therefore the immediate period after a TIA/minor' stroke is a crucial time to intervene to tackle known vascular risk factors. Although rehabilitation following a TIA/minor stroke is widely recommended, there is a paucity of research that offers an evidence base on which the development or optimisation of interventions can be based, particularly for home-based approaches and non-pharmacological interventions in the acute period following the initial TIA/'minor' stroke. This systematic review will investigate the effect of rehabilitation programmes initiated within 90 days of the diagnosis of a TIA or 'minor' stroke aimed at reducing the subsequent risk of stroke.
This systematic review will be reported in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses(PRISMA) guidance. Randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials of rehabilitation programmes initiated within 90 days of a TIA or 'minor' stroke will be included. Articles will be identified through a comprehensive search of the following databases, guided by a medical librarian: the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL and PsycINFO. Two review authors will independently screen articles retrieved from the search for eligibility and extract relevant data on methodological issues. A narrative synthesis will be completed when there is insufficient data to permit a formal meta-analysis.
This review will be of value to clinicians and healthcare professionals working in TIA and stroke services as well as to general practitioners/family physicians who care for these patients in the community and to researchers involved in designing and evaluating rehabilitation interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere007849
Number of pages7
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2015


  • Systematic review; rehabilitation programmes; post-TIA/stroke; non-pharmacological secondary prevention


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