Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
A sys review and metaanalysis of the effects of cardiac rehab.pdf (1.48 MB)

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of cardiac rehabilitation interventions on cognitive impairment following stroke.

Download (1.48 MB)
posted on 2021-02-18, 16:45 authored by Isabelle Jeffares, Niamh Merriman, Daniela Rohde, Affraic McLoughlin, Brendan Scally, Frank DoyleFrank Doyle, Frances HorganFrances Horgan, Anne HickeyAnne Hickey
Purpose: The cardiac rehabilitation model has potential as an approach to providing rehabilitation following stroke. This review aims to identify evidence for the participation of stroke patients in cardiac/cardiovascular rehabilitation programs internationally, whether or not such programs offer a cognitive intervention as part of treatment, and the impact of rehabilitation on post-stroke cognitive function.
Method: Five electronic databases were searched from inception to 1 May 2019, namely: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the Web of Science. Eligible studies included both randomized and non-randomized studies of cardiac rehabilitation-type interventions which measured cognitive function in patients with transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.
Results: Of 14,153 records reviewed, nine studies which delivered cardiac rehabilitation-type interventions to stroke patients were finally included. Only three of these studies delivered cognitive rehabilitation as part of the intervention. Cardiac rehabilitation had no statistically significant effect on cognitive function in five randomized controlled trials (standardized mean difference= 0.28, 95% CI= -0.16 to 0.73) or in three one group pre-post studies (standardized mean difference= 0.15, 95% CI= -0.03 to 0.33).
Conclusions: This review highlights that there are very few studies of delivery of cardiac rehabilitation to stroke patients and that the inclusion of cognitive interventions is even less common, despite the high prevalence of post-stroke cognitive impairment.
The cardiac rehabilitation model has the potential to be expanded to include patients post-stroke given the commonality of secondary prevention needs, thereby becoming a cardiovascular rehabilitation model.
Up to half of patients experience cognitive impairment after stroke; suggesting that a post-stroke cardiovascular rehabilitation model should incorporate specific cognitive strategies for patients.
This systematic review identified three cardiovascular rehabilitation programmes which delivered cognitive rehabilitation as part of treatment; however, evidence for efficacy is weak.


Health Research Board SPHeRE/ 2013/1.



The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Disability and Rehabilitation 2019, available online at:

Published Citation

Jeffares I, Merriman NA, Rohde D, McLoughlin A, Scally B, Doyle F, Horgan F, Hickey A. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of cardiac rehabilitation interventions on cognitive impairment following stroke. Disabilility and Rehabilitation. 2019:1-16.

Publication Date

24 Jul 2019

PubMed ID



  • Health Psychology
  • School of Physiotherapy

Research Area

  • Population Health and Health Services


Taylor & Francis Group


  • Submitted Version (Preprint)