This single arm pre-post study aimed at evaluating the acute effects induced by a single session of robot-assisted passive hand mobilization on local perfusion and upper limb (UL) function in poststroke hemiparetic participants. Twenty-three patients with subacute or chronic stroke received 20 min passive mobilization of the paretic hand with robotic assistance. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) was used to detect changes in forearm tissue perfusion. Muscle tone of the paretic UL was assessed by the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS). Symptoms concerning UL heaviness, joint stiffness, and pain were evaluated as secondary outcomes by self-reporting. Significant (p=0.014) improvements were found in forearm perfusion when all fingers were mobilized simultaneously. After the intervention, MAS scores decreased globally, being the changes statistically significant for the wrist (from 1.6±1.0 to 1.1±1.0; p=0.001) and fingers (from 1.2±1.1 to 0.7±0.9; p=0.004). Subjects reported decreased UL heaviness and stiffness after treatment, especially for the hand, as well as diminished pain when present. This study supports novel evidence that hand robotic assistance promotes local UL circulation changes, may help in the management of spasticity, and acutely alleviates reported symptoms of heaviness, stiffness, and pain in subjects with poststroke hemiparesis. This opens new scenarios for the implications in everyday clinical practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)