Recovery of upper limb function is greatest early after stroke but does continue to improve during the chronic phase: a two-year, observational study
AuthorBorschmann, KN; Hayward, KS
PublisherELSEVIER SCI LTD
Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBorschmann, K. N. & Hayward, K. S. (2020). Recovery of upper limb function is greatest early after stroke but does continue to improve during the chronic phase: a two-year, observational study. PHYSIOTHERAPY, 107, pp.216-223. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2019.10.001.
Access StatusOpen Access
OBJECTIVES: Investigate upper limb (UL) capacity and performance from <14-days to 24-months post stroke. DESIGN: Longitudinal study of participants with acute stroke, assessed ≤14-days, 6-weeks, 3-, 6-, 12-, 18-, and 24-months post stroke. SETTING: Two acute stroke units. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Examination of UL capacity using Chedoke McMaster Stroke Assessment (combined arm and hand scores, 0-14), performance using Motor Activity Log (amount of movement and quality of movement, scored 0-5), and grip strength (kg) using Jamar dynamometer. Random effects regression models were performed to explore the change in outcomes at each time point. Routine clinical imaging was used to describe stroke location as cortical, subcortical or mixed. RESULTS: Thirty-four participants were enrolled: median age 67.7 years (IQR 60.7-76.2), NIHSS 11.5 (IQR 8.5-16), female n=10 (36%). The monthly rate of change for all measures was consistently greatest in the 6-weeks post baseline. On average, significant improvements were observed to 12-months in amount of use (median improvement 1.81, 95% CI 1.35 to 2.27) and strength (median improvement 8.29, 95% CI 5.90 to 10.67); while motor capacity (median improvement 4.70, 95% CI 3.8 to 5.6) and quality of movement (median improvement 1.83, 95% CI 1.37 to 2.3) improved to 18-months post stroke. Some individuals were still demonstrating gains at 24-months post stroke within each stroke location group. CONCLUSION: This study highlights that the greatest rate of improvement of UL capacity and performance occurs early post stroke. At the group level, improvements were evident at 12- to 18-months post stroke, but at the individual level improvements were observed at 24-months. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN12612000123842.
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