Trunk performance after stroke and the relationship with balance, gait and functional ability

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate trunk performance in non-acute and chronic stroke patients by means of the Trunk Control Test and Trunk Impairment Scale and to compare the Trunk Control Test with the Trunk Impairment Scale and its subscales in relation to balance, gait and functional ability after stroke.

Subjects

Fifty-one stroke patients, attending a rehabilitation programme, participated in the study.

Main measures

Subjects were evaluated with the Trunk Control Test, Trunk Impairment Scale, Tinetti balance and gait subscales, Functional Ambulation Category, 10-m walk test, Timed Up and Go Test and motor part of the Functional Independence Measure.

Results

Participants obtained a median score of 61 out of 100 on the Trunk Control Test and 11 out of 23 for the Trunk Impairment Scale. Twelve participants (24%) obtained the maximum score on the Trunk Control Test; no subject reached the maximum score on the Trunk Impairment Scale. Measures of trunk performance were significantly related with values of balance, gait and functional ability. Multivariate linear regression analysis showed an additional, significant contribution of the dynamic sitting balance subscale of the Trunk Impairment Scale in addition to the Trunk Control Test total score for measures of gait and functional ability (model R2 = 0.55–0.62).

Conclusions

This study clearly indicates that trunk performance is still impaired in non-acute and chronic stroke patients. When planning future follow-up studies, use of the Trunk Impairment Scale has the advantage that it has no ceiling effect.

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