Changes in upper limb capacity and performance in the early and late subacute phase after stroke

Camilla Lundquist, Binh T Nguyen, Thomas Bo Hvidt, Henriette Holm Stabel, Jeanette Reffstrup Christensen, Iris Brunner*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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Background: The course of spontaneous biological recovery indicates that no essential improvements in upper limb (UL) capacity should be expected 3 months after stroke. Likewise, UL performance as assessed with accelerometers does not seem to increase. However, this plateau may not apply to all patients with stroke. Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the changes in UL capacity and performance from 3 to 6 months post-stroke, and the association between patients’ UL capacity and actual UL performance. Methods: This study was a secondary analysis of a prospective longitudinal cohort study. Patients with UL impairment and first or recurrent stroke were included. Their UL capacity was assessed at 3 and 6 months with the Action Research Arm Test (ARAT) and UL performance was examined with accelerometry and expressed as a use ratio. The association between ARAT and use ratio was examined with multiple regression analyses. Results: Data from 67 patients were analyzed. It was shown that UL capacity as assessed with ARAT still improved from 3 to 6 months. A clinically meaningful improvement (≥ 6 points on ARAT) was found in 16 (46%) of the 35 patients whose scores allowed for such an increase. Improvements were mainly observed for patients with ARAT scores in the range of 15-51 at 3 months. Conversely, UL performance did not change. Three and 6 months after stroke respectively 69% and 64% of the variation in use ratio was explained by ARAT. Conclusion: While a substantial part of patients improved their UL capacity, UL performance did not change from 3 to 6 months post-stroke. Strategies to remind patients of including their affected UL may encourage the transfer from better capacity to increased performance.

TidsskriftJournal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2022


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