[Treatment of focal upper limb spasticity with botulinum toxin after stroke. Interest of an individual approach]

J Luauté, E Landrault, S Jacquin-Courtois, P Mertens, G Rode, D Boisson
Annales de Réadaptation et de Médecine Physique 2004, 47 (8): 555-62

INTRODUCTION: It is now demonstrated that botulinum toxin can improve upper limb spasticity after stroke.

OBJECTIVES: This study was designed to assess the efficacy of botulinum toxin on upper limb spasticity with an individual approach.

METHODS: Prospective study on 18 patients who had disabling spasticity of upper limb after stroke. For each patient, the treatment's target was fixed preliminary to botulinum toxin injection. Evaluation of efficacy (Ashworth scale and predefined targets) was performed at 1 month and treatment continuation was decided individually.

RESULTS: A beneficial effect was reported by most patients when the treatment was aimed at improving comfort or quality of life. In one case, the treatment was designed to improve grasping. In that case, no effect was reported. For three patients, a neurotomy was performed in order to obtain a long lasting effect. For nine patients, repeated injections were decided. For the six other patients, no long-standing treatment was performed.

DISCUSSION: This study confirms that botulinum toxin can improve comfort of patients with upper limb spasticity. On the base of our experience, we discussed contribution of botulinum toxin to enhance and optimise strategies for the treatment of focal upper limb spasticity with emphasis on the comparison with selective neurotomy.

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