Contrary to expectations, the present study showed that 6 weeks of regular standing on a tilt table combined with electrical stimulation and ankle splinting did not provide added benefits when compared to a less-intensive program of tilt table standing alone, for people with severe traumatic brain injury and ankle contractures. The upper end of the 95% CI, associated with the mean between-group difference of ankle
range, was below the pre-specified Adriamycin minimally worthwhile treatment effect of 5 deg. This indicates that the failure to detect a treatment effect was not due to an inadequate sample size. Despite the findings, the physiotherapists who implemented the multimodal program scored treatment effectiveness and worth higher than physiotherapists who implemented the tilt table standing alone. They were also twice as willing to recommend the treatment they provided compared to those who implemented tilt table standing
alone. This is possibly a reflection of the physiotherapists’ preconceived beliefs and expectations about the multimodal program. A number of reasons may explain why our study did not demonstrate a treatment effect. Firstly, the control group received some passive stretch (tilt table standing), although in a considerably lower dose than the experimental group. This was done because tilt table standing is often used in people with brain injury Sorafenib mw for purposes other than stretching. For example, it is used to get them upright and to provide initial training for standing so we could
not justify depriving participants in the control group of this intervention. However, the TCL inclusion of tilt table standing for the control group inevitably reduced the treatment contrast between the experimental and control groups, which may have diluted any possible treatment effects of the multimodal program. Secondly, the study recruited participants with severe traumatic brain injury and ankle contractures. These participants often had severe cognitive and behavioural impairments and complex medical issues. These characteristics imposed considerable challenges for the implementation of the treatment program. This reduced adherence might have influenced the outcome. Electrical stimulation was used in this study to address the contributors to contracture; namely, muscle weakness and spasticity. The feedback from participants and physiotherapists inhibitors indicated that the use of electrical stimulation was feasible. However, the present study did not find an improvement in joint range. Electrical stimulation was applied for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week over 6 weeks; this dose may have been insufficient. A trial that used a supramaximal dose of electrical stimulation (9 minutes a day over 4 weeks) found a small effect on joint range (5 deg, 95% CI 3 to 8) and spasticity, when compared with a group without electrical stimulation.