Correlation among lesion level, muscle strength and hand function in cervical spinal cord injury

R. Thorsen, L. Binda, S. Chiaramonte, D. Dalla Costa, T. Redaelli, E. Occhi, E. Beghi, M. Ferrarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Few epidemiological data are available regarding distribution of cervical spinal cord injury with respect to level of lesion and the relationship between the neurological level of lesion and residual hand function. Such data are important to evaluate the relevance of innovative therapeutic approaches, and to plan prospective clinical trials. Aim. To examine the frequency distribution of neurological level of lesion and to investigate the correlation among level, active muscles in the arm and the relation to hand function. Design. Cross-sectional study. Setting. Two spinal units in the Lombardy region of Italy. Population. Patients with cervical spinal cord lesion. Methods. Consecutive records, taken from an 8-year interval of admission to either spinal unit, of patients with a cervical spinal cord lesion were examined, and individuals with a C5 to C7 neurological level of lesion were called in for clinical examination.The arm muscles were evaluated according to the International Classification for Surgery of the Hand in Tetraplegia (ICSHT), and hand function was tested with the Action Research Arm Test (ARAT). A correlation analysis was made of the ICSHT, ARAT and neurological level of lesion. Results. In 253 clinical records we found the most frequent lesions to be C5 (21%), C6 (31%) and C7 (21%); 76 of these patients were enrolled for a clinical evaluation. Both ICSHT (Spearmans' rho=0.6; PcO.OOl) and ARAT (rho=0.2; P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Prevalence
  • Spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Medicine(all)


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