Rehabilitation and care following stroke

Commissioning brief advertised to researchers by the NIHR HTA Programme.

Efficacy and mechanism evaluation of transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation for upper limb recovery post-stroke a randomised, controlled, multi-arm, multi-stage, adaptive design trial

Addressing priority 15 from the Rehabilitation and Long-term Care Top 10: NIHR Research in progress

This study aims to find out whether the effects of physiotherapy for arm recovery after stroke can be improved with a treatment called transcutaneous Vagus nerve stimulation (TVNS). In a recent ground-breaking clinical trial, electrically stimulating a nerve called the Vagus nerve (VN) at the same time as the participants moved their weak arm (in physiotherapy) resulted in better arm recovery compared with physiotherapy alone. However, the electrical stimulator was surgically implanted under a general anaesthetic and the VNS was triggered by a therapist, and treatment was delivered in hospital. Consequently, the uptake of this therapy may be limited. This trial will test a non-invasive way of stimulating the VN which does not involve surgery or anaesthesia.