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Early head-up mobilisation versus standard care for patients with severe acquired brain injury: A systematic review with meta-analysis and Trial Sequential Analysis

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BACKGROUND: There is increasing focus on earlier rehabilitation in patients with traumatic or hypoxic brain injury or stroke. This systematic review evaluates the benefits and harms of early head-up mobilisation versus standard care in patients with severe acquired brain injury.

METHODS: We searched Medline, CENTRAL, EMBASE, four other databases and 13 selected clinical trial registries until April 2020. Eligible randomised clinical trials compared early head-up mobilisation versus standard care in patients with severe acquired brain injury and were analysed conducting random- and fixed-effects meta-analyses and Trial Sequential Analysis (TSA). Certainty of evidence was assessed by GRADE.

MAIN RESULTS: We identified four randomised clinical trials (total n = 385 patients) with severe acquired brain injury (stroke 86% and traumatic brain injury 13%). Two trials were at low risk and two at high risk of bias. We found no evidence of a difference between early mobilisation vs. standard care on mortality or poor functional outcome at end of the intervention (relative risk (RR) 1.19, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.53; I2 0%; very low certainty) or at maximal follow-up (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.21; I2 0%; very low certainty). We found evidence against an effect on quality of life at maximal follow-up. The proportion of patients with at least one serious adverse event did not differ at end of intervention or at maximal follow-up. For most comparisons, TSA suggested that further trials are needed.

CONCLUSIONS: We found no evidence of a difference between early mobilisation versus standard care for patients with severe acquired brain injury. Early mobilisation appeared not to exert a major impact on quality of life. This systematic review highlights the insufficient evidence in patients with severe brain injury, and no firm conclusions can be drawn from these data.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Protocol uploaded to PROSPERO: April 2018 (revised October 2018, CRD42018088790).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0237136
JournalPLoS One
Volume15
Issue number8
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2020

ID: 60681067