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Increased muscle tone and contracture late after ischemic stroke

Journal article
Authors Carina Ulla Persson
Lukas Holmegaard
Petra Redfors
Christina Jern
Christian Blomstrand
Katarina Jood
Published in Brain and Behavior
ISSN 2162-3279
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Biomedicine
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Language en
Keywords muscle spasticity, rehabilitation, stroke, upper-limb spasticity, scandinavian stroke, functional outcomes, ashworth scale, tardieu scale, 1st year, association, reliability, prevalence, survivors, Behavioral Sciences, Neurosciences & Neurology
Subject categories Neurosciences


Background Systematic studies on increased muscle tone and spasticity late after ischemic stroke, without any selection, are limited. Therefore, we aimed to determine the prevalence of increased muscle tone, classical spasticity and contracture and predictors of increased muscle tone seven years after stroke. Methods Consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke <70 years of age (n = 411) were recruited to the Sahlgrenska Academy Study on Ischemic Stroke. Symptoms at index stroke were assessed using the Scandinavian Stroke Scale. Seven years after stroke, survivors (n = 358) were invited for follow-up assessments, of whom 292 agreed to participate and 288 contributed data. Muscle tone according to the Modified Ashworth scale, classical spasticity, and contracture was assessed by a neurologist. The associations between increased muscle tone and characteristics at index stroke and recurrent strokes during follow-up were investigated using logistic regression analysis. Results Increased muscle tone was recognized in 99 participants (34%): 94 (33%) in the upper limbs, and 72 (25%) in the lower limbs. Classical spasticity was found in 51 participants (18%) and contracture in 26 (9%). Age (odds ratio [OR] 1.03 [95% confidence interval [CI] 1.00-1.06]), arm paresis (OR 1.76 [95% CI 1.40-2.2]), aphasia (OR 1.68 [95% CI 1.12-2.51]), and facial palsy (OR 2.12 [95% CI 1.10-4.07]) were independent predictors of increased muscle tone. Conclusions One-third of patients with ischemic stroke before 70 years of age showed increased muscle tone at 7-year follow-up. Half of them also had classical spasticity. Age, arm paresis, aphasia, and facial palsy at index stroke were predictors of increased muscle tone poststroke.

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