Upper Limb Somatosensory Evoked Potentials as a Predictor of Rehabilitation Progress in Dominant Hemisphere Stroke Patients

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Abstract

Background and Purpose

The aim of this study was to determine the predictive yield of upper limb short latency somatosensory evoked potential (USEP) in patients with first stroke in the dominant hemisphere.

Methods

Nineteen patients (average age, 58 years) were evaluated twice: on arrival at the rehabilitation center, approximately 3 weeks after the stroke, and again approximately 10 weeks later. The clinical assessment included a quantitative evaluation of motor ability, independence in activities of daily living, and communication ability. USEP was recorded during the week of the initial clinical evaluation. Special attention was paid to the relations between USEP parameters and the dynamics of the clinical condition.

Results

The seven patients in whom no cortical potential could be detected showed the worst outcomes; however, the existence of cortical potentials in the remaining 12 patients did not provide a precise prediction of their “rehabilitative capacity” (ie, the extent of their progress). A correlation was established between the amplitude of the potentials recorded over both hemispheres and changes in communication ability. Additional findings included an association between shortened central conduction time over the damaged hemisphere during the first month after stroke and improvement in motor ability.

Conclusions

USEP can serve as an adjuvant tool for predicting the recovery progress of stroke patients.

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