Prevalence of disabling spasticity 1 year after first-ever stroke

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To estimate the prevalence of disabling spasticity (DS) 1 year after first-ever stroke.


Cross-sectional survey 1 year after first-ever stroke.


Patients above 18 years from one county with first-ever stroke were identified by use of the national stroke registry. A representative sample of 163 patients was created and 140 of these were followed up. Assessments of motor function and ability with the modified Ashworth Scale, the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), the Barthel Index (BI) and clinical evaluation were performed in order to identify patients with spasticity-related disability.


The observed prevalence of any spasticity was 17% and of DS 4%. Patients with DS scored significantly worse than those with no DS on the mRS (P = 0.009) and the BI (P = 0.005). DS was more frequent in the upper extremity, correlated positively with other indices of motor impairment and inversely with age. There was an independent effect of severe upper extremity paresis (OR 22, CI 3.9–125) and age below 65 years (OR 9.5, CI 1.5–60).


The prevalence of DS after first-ever stroke is low but corresponds to a large number of patients and deserves further attention with regards to prevention and treatment.

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