Inter-joint coordination analysis of reach-to-grasp kinematics in children and adolescents with obstetrical brachial plexus palsy

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Abstract

Background

Obstetrical brachial plexus palsy is a common birth injury to nerves passing through the brachial plexus that may result in structural and functional abnormalities. Individual joint trajectories from kinematic analyses have been used to evaluate the source and extent of abnormalities. Here, two summary measures of limb kinematics were utilized: 1) the Arm Profile Score summarizing upper limb joint kinematic abnormalities from a typical pattern across a task, and 2) the recently developed Multi-joint Coordination Measure using principal component analysis to characterize typical coordination of multiple joints throughout a task and compute deviations in time and space. Our aim was to compare these kinematic measures in persons with and without injury and relate these to clinical and functional scales.

Methods

3D kinematic data from 10 upper limb joints were collected on 15 children and adolescents with obstetrical brachial plexus palsy and 21 controls during a reach-to-grasp task in both limbs. The two kinematic measures were computed and correlated with each other and the Mallet and ABILIHAND-Kids.

Findings

Both measures revealed that joint angles primarily contributing to shoulder and wrist motion were most prominently affected in the non-dominant limb in obstetrical brachial plexus palsy, with the Multi-joint Coordination Measure additionally indicating when in the motion coordination worsens. These were moderately interrelated but neither correlated with other scales.

Interpretation

The Multi-joint Coordination Measure, while related to the Arm Profile Score, may have additional utility for individualized treatment planning and evaluation of any motor task due to the unique spatial-temporal information provided.

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