Interventions for improving sit-to-stand ability following stroke

Alex Pollock, Charla Gray, Elsie Culham, Brian R. Durward, Peter Langhorne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Standing up from a seated position is one of the most frequently performed functional tasks, is an essential pre-requisite to walking and is important for independent living and preventing falls. Following stroke, patients can experience a number of problems relating to the ability to sit-to-stand independently. Objectives: To review the evidence of effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving sit-to-stand ability after stroke. The primary objectives were to determine (1) the effect of interventions that alter the starting posture (including chair height, foot position, hand rests) on ability to sit-to-stand independently; and (2) the effect of rehabilitation interventions (such as repetitive practice and exercise programmes) on ability to sit-to-stand independently. The secondary objectives were to determine the effects of interventions aimed at improving ability to sit-to-stand on: (1) time taken to sit-to-stand; (2) symmetry of weight distribution during sit-to-stand; (3) peak vertical ground reaction forces during sit-to-stand; (4) lateral movement of centre of pressure during sit-to-stand; and (5) incidence of falls. Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register (June 2013), CENTRAL (2013, Issue 5), MEDLINE (1950 to June 2013), EMBASE (1980 to June 2013), CINAHL (1982 to June 2013), AMED (1985 to June 2013) and six additional databases. We also searched reference lists and trials registers and contacted experts. Selection criteria: Randomised trials in adults after stroke where: the intervention aimed to affect the ability to sit-to-stand by altering the posture of the patient, or the design of the chair; stated that the aim of the intervention was to improve the ability to sit-to-stand; or the intervention involved exercises that included repeated practice of the movement of sit-to-stand (task-specific practice of rising to stand). The primary outcome of interest was the ability to sit-to-stand independently. Secondary outcomes included time taken to sit-to-stand, measures of lateral symmetry during sit-to-stand, incidence of falls and general functional ability scores. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently screened abstracts, extracted data and appraised trials. We undertook an assessment of methodological quality for random sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding of outcome assessors and method of dealing with missing data. Main results: Thirteen studies (603 participants) met the inclusion criteria for this review, and data from 11 of these studies were included within meta-analyses. Twelve of the 13 included studies investigated rehabilitation interventions; one (nine participants) investigated the effect of altered starting posture for sit-to-stand. We judged only four studies to be at low risk of bias for all methodological parameters assessed. The majority of randomised controlled trials included participants who were already able to sit-to-stand or walk independently. Only one study (48 participants), which we judged to be at high risk of bias, reported our primary outcome of interest, ability to sit-to-stand independently, and found that training increased the odds of achieving independent sit-to-stand compared with control (odds ratio (OR) 4.86, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.43 to 16.50, very low quality evidence). Interventions or training for sit-to-stand improved the time taken to sit-to-stand and the lateral symmetry (weight distribution between the legs) during sit-to-stand (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.34; 95% CI -0.62 to -0.06, seven studies, 335 participants; and SMD 0.85; 95% CI 0.38 to 1.33, five studies, 105 participants respectively, both moderate quality evidence). These improvements are maintained at long-term follow-up. Few trials assessing the effect of sit-to-stand training on peak vertical ground reaction force (one study, 54 participants) and functional ability (two studies, 196 participants) were identified, providing very low and low quality evidence respectively. The effect of sit-to-stand training on number of falls was imprecise, demonstrating no benefit or harm (OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.46 to 1.22, five studies, 319 participants, low quality evidence). We judged the majority of studies that assessed falls to be at high risk of bias. Authors' conclusions: This review has found insufficient evidence relating to our primary outcome of ability to sit-to-stand independently to reach any generalisable conclusions. This review has found moderate quality evidence that interventions to improve sit-to-stand may have a beneficial effect on time taken to sit-to-stand and lateral symmetry during sit-to-stand, in the population of people with stroke who were already able to sit-to-stand independently. There was insufficient evidence to reach conclusions relating to the effect of interventions to improve sit-to-stand on peak vertical ground reaction force, functional ability and falls. This review adds to a growing body of evidence that repetitive task-specific training is beneficial for outcomes in people receiving rehabilitation following stroke.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberCD007232
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number5
Early online date26 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2014


  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Movement/physiology
  • Postural Balance/physiology
  • Posture/physiology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Time Factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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