Grip Strength on the Unaffected Side as an Independent Predictor of Functional Improvement After Stroke

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to investigate the association between grip strength on the unaffected side and post-stroke functional improvement.

Design

A total of 127 patients with unilateral stroke were included in this study. Demographic data, clinical data on initial grip strength, initial National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, admission and discharge Modified Barthel Index (MBI), and stroke profiles were retrospectively reviewed.

Results

Univariate and multiple linear regression analyses were carried out to evaluate the predictive values of each variable. In the model for discharge MBI, age, initial National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, grip strength on the unaffected side, lesion side, and admission MBI were shown to be independent predictors. Meanwhile, grip strength on the unaffected side, lesion side, and admission MBI had significant predictive values in the model for difference between admission and discharge MBI.

Conclusion

The current study suggests for the first time that grip strength on the unaffected side is an independent predictor for short-term functional gain and outcome after stroke. This result may change post-stroke rehabilitation strategies to emphasize exercises to prevent loss of muscle strength. In addition, this implies the possibility of a relationship between sarcopenia and post-stroke function. Further research is needed to reveal the effect of sarcopenia on stroke patients and its mechanism.

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