Effects of home-based exercise interventions on post-stroke depression: A systematic review and network meta-analysis

Author: Rong Chen1, Yijia Guo1, Yashi Kuang1, Qi Zhang2
1 Sun Yat Sen University, School of Nursing, 74 Zhongshan 2nd Rd, Guangzhou 510080, Guangdong, China.
2 Sun Yat Sen University, School of Nursing, 74 Zhongshan 2nd Rd, Guangzhou 510080, Guangdong, China. Electronic address: zhangq569@mail.sysu.edu.cn.
Conference/Journal: Int J Nurs Stud
Date published: 2024 Jan 18
Other: Volume ID: 152 , Pages: 104698 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2024.104698. , Word Count: 381

Post-stroke depression (PSD) is a common and persistent mental disorder that negatively impacts stroke outcomes. Exercise-based interventions have been shown to be an effective non-pharmacological treatment for improving depression in patients with mild stroke, but no reviews have yet synthesized the effects of home-based exercise on PSD.

The purpose of this systematic review and network meta-analysis was to synthesize the available evidence to compare the effectiveness of different types of home-based exercise programs on PSD and identify the optimal home-based exercise modality to inform clinical decision-making for the treatment of PSD.

PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and PsycINFO were systematically searched from their inception dates to March 7, 2023. We searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of home-based exercise for PSD in adults aged 18 years and older. Only scores of depression retrieved directly post-treatment were included as the primary endpoint for the analysis. Version 2 of the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for randomized trials (RoB-2) was used to assess the quality of included studies. We conducted traditional pairwise meta-analysis for direct comparisons using Review Manager 5.4.1, followed by network meta-analysis using Stata 15.1 for both the network evidence plot and analysis. The surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) was used to estimate the intervention hierarchy. The protocol was registered with PROSPERO under registration number CRD42022363784.

A total of 517 participants from nine RCTs were included. Based on the ranking probabilities, mind-body exercise was the most effective way in improving PSD (SUCRA: 90.4 %, Hedges' g: -0.59, 95 % confidence interval [CI]: -1.16 to -0.02), followed by flexibility/neuro-motor skills training (SUCRA: 42.9 %, Hedges' g: -0.10, 95 % CI: -0.70 to 0.49), and aerobic exercise (SUCRA: 39.3 %, Hedges' g: -0.07, 95 % CI: -0.81 to 0.67). We performed a subgroup analysis of mind-body exercise. In mind-body exercise interventions, Tai Chi was the most effective way to improve PSD (SUCRA: 99.4 %, Hedges' g: -0.94, 95 % CI: -1.28 to -0.61).

Our network meta-analysis that provides evidence with very low certainty indicates potential benefits of home-based exercise for alleviating PSD, with mind-body exercises, notably Tai Chi, showing promise as an effective treatment. However, further rigorous studies are needed to solidify these findings. Specifically, multicenter RCTs comparing specific exercises to no intervention are crucial, assessing not only efficacy but also dose, reach, fidelity, and long-term effects for real-world optimization.

Keywords: Depression; Home-based exercise; Network meta-analysis; Post-stroke.

PMID: 38290424 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2024.104698