Content » Vol 39, Issue 1

Original report

Are clinical characteristics associated with upper-extremity hypertonia in severe ischaemic supratentorial stroke?

Annette A. van Kuijk, Henk T. Hendricks, Jaco W. Pasman, Berry H. Kremer and Alexander C. Geurts
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0009


Objective: The primary goal of this study was to identify clinical risk factors, in addition to muscle weakness, for upper-extremity hypertonia in patients with severe ischaemic supratentorial stroke. The secondary goal was to investigate the time course of upper-extremity hypertonia in these patients during the first 26 weeks post-stroke.
Design: Inception cohort.
Patients: Forty-three consecutive patients with an acute ischaemic supratentorial stroke and an initial upper-extremity paralysis admitted to an academic hospital.
Main outcome measures: Primary outcome: hypertonia assessed by the Ashworth scale at week 26 post-stroke. Potential risks factors: motor functions assessed by the upper-extremity subscore of the Fugl-Meyer motor assessment, Barthel Index at week 1, consciousness, sensory disturbances, apraxia, neglect, and hyper-reflexia. Secondary outcome: time course of upper-extremity hypertonia by assessing its prevalence at 6 consecutive moments post-stroke during a follow-up period of 26 weeks.
Results: Twenty-five patients (63%) developed hypertonia during the follow-up period of 26 weeks. During this period, the prevalence of hypertonia followed a rather dynamic course, with cases of early, transient and late hypertonia. Univariate analyses yielded none of the selected clinical characteristics as significantly associated with hypertonia.
Conclusion: Despite the high incidence of hypertonia (63%) observed, none of the selected clinical characteristics could be identified as a risk factor for hypertonia.

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