Predictors of activities of daily living outcomes after upper limb robot-assisted therapy in subacute stroke patients

Marco Franceschini, Michela Goffredo, Sanaz Pournajaf, Stefano Paravati, Maurizio Agosti, Francesco De Pisi, Daniele Galafate, Federico Posteraro

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Background Upper limb recovery is one of the main goals of post-stroke rehabilitation due to its importance for autonomy in Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Although the efficacy of upper limb Robot-assisted Therapy (RT) is well established in literature, the impact of the initial status of the patient on the effects of RT is still understudied. This paper aims to identify whether demographic, clinical and motor characteristics of stroke patients may influence the ability to independently perform ADL after RT. Methods A retrospective study was conducted on sixty stroke patients who conducted planar upper limb goal-directed tasks with the InMotion 2.0 robot. The RT was administered 5 days/week for 4 weeks and each session lasted 45 minutes. The primary outcome measure was the Modified Barthel Index (BI), dichotomized into favourable (BI 75) and unfavourable (BI<75) outcomes. The potential predictors were the demographic and clinical records, and the following clinical assessment scores: Modified Ashworth Scale-Shoulder (MAS-S); Modified Ashworth Scale-Elbow (MAS-E); Fugl-Meyer Assessment Upper Extremity (FMA-UE); upper limb section of the Motricity Index (MIul); total passive Range Of Motion (pROM); and Box and Block Test (BBT). Results Statistical analysis showed that the BBT, FMA-UE and MIul scores were significant predictors of a favourable outcome in ADL. The cut-off scores of the independent variables were calculated (FMA-UE = 32; MIul = 48; BBT = 3) with respect to the dichotomic BI outcome. Their robustness was assessed with the Fragility Index (FMA-UE = 2; MIul = 3; BBT = 7), showing that BBT is the most robust predictor of favourable BI outcome. Moreover, subjects with all predictors higher than the cut-off scores had higher probability to increase their independence in ADL at the end of the therapy. Demographic records, spasticity and pROM were not identified as predictors. Conclusion Stroke patients with greater manual dexterity and less impairment appear to have a higher probability of achieving clinically significant ADL outcomes after upper limb RT. The obtained results can help to optimise the management of RT treatment planning. Further studies on a larger number of patients with a long-term follow up are recommended in order to evaluate other potential predictors and to validate the results.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0193235
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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