Background Stroke rehabilitation is a complex intervention. Many factors influence the interaction between the patient and the elements of the intervention. Rehabilitation interventions are aimed at altering different domains of patient outcome including body functions, activity and participation. As a consequence, randomised clinical trials in this area are difficult to design. We developed an archive of stroke rehabilitation trials (VISTA-Rehab) to act as a resource to help trialists model and design future rehabilitation studies.
Methods We developed specific eligibility criteria for the entry of stroke rehabilitation trials into the archive. We established a Steering Committee to oversee projects and publications and commenced the recruitment of rehabilitation trials into this resource.
Results As of August 2009, VISTA-Rehab contains data from 23 stroke rehabilitation trials (43400 patients). Demographic data, including age [median = 73, interquartile range (63,79)], gender (male = 53%) and initial dependency [medianbaseline Barthel index score = 6, interquartile range (9,19)], are available for all patients. Outcome measures include the modified Rankin Scale, Barthel Index, Rivermead Motor Assessment, Fugl-Meyer Assessment, General Health Questionnaire and Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living Scale.
Conclusion VISTA-Rehab expands the Virtual International Stroke Trials Archive to include rehabilitation trials. Anonymised data can be used to examine questions specific to stroke rehabilitation and to generate novel hypotheses.