International Journal of Stroke vol:5 issue:Suppl 2 pages:66
7th World Stroke Congress location:Seoul, Korea date:13-16 October 2010
Background and aims: About 50% of stroke survivors fail in their attempt to resume driving. However, very few rehabilitation programs exist to retrain driving-related skills commonly affected after stroke. This abstract summarizes the findings of a RCT that investigated the short and long term effects of simulator-based versus cognitive training of driving-related skills.
Methods: 83 first ever stroke survivors recruited while in a rehabilitation center were randomly allocated into either a simulator-based or cognitive-based driving training program at about 2 months post-stroke. In addition to regular rehabilitation, participants received 15 hours of driving training over 5 weeks. Performance in visual, perceptual and an on-road driving tests were recorded immediately before and after training. Performance in an official predriving evaluation administered at about 6 and 60 months post-stroke were also documented.
Results: Both groups significantly improved in a visual and many perceptual tests and in the on-road test immediately after training. Significantly more participants in the simulator (73%) compared to the cognitive group (42%) passed the predriving evaluation at 6 months post-stroke. The advantage of the simulator training over the cognitive program had however faded at the 60 months evaluation. More participants in the cognitive group had improved over time to also pass the predriving evaluation.
Conclusions: Though the advantage faded at 5 years post-stroke, the simulator-based program was more effective than cognitive program in retraining driving-related deficits shortly after stroke onset. This finding is clinically relevant since most survivors wish to resume driving within the first year after stroke.