Journal Article
Observational Study
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The use of accelerometer bracelets to evaluate arm motor function over a stroke rehabilitation period - an explorative observational study.

BACKGROUND: Assessments of arm motor function are usually based on clinical examinations or self-reported rating scales. Wrist-worn accelerometers can be a good complement to measure movement patterns after stroke. Currently there is limited knowledge of how accelerometry correlate to clinically used scales. The purpose of this study was therefore to evaluate the relationship between intermittent measurements of wrist-worn accelerometers and the patient's progression of arm motor function assessed by routine clinical outcome measures during a rehabilitation period.

METHODS: Patients enrolled in in-hospital rehabilitation following a stroke were invited. Included patients were asked to wear wrist accelerometers for 24 h at the start (T1) and end (T2) of their rehabilitation period. On both occasions arm motor function was assessed by the modified Motor Assessment Scale (M_MAS) and the Motor Activity Log (MAL). The recorded accelerometry was compared to M_MAS and MAL.

RESULTS: 20 patients were included, of which 18 completed all measurements and were therefore included in the final analysis. The resulting Spearman's rank correlation coefficient showed a strong positive correlation between measured wrist acceleration in the affected arm and M-MAS and MAL values at T1, 0.94 (p < 0.05) for M_MAS and 0.74 (p < 0.05) for the MAL values, and a slightly weaker positive correlation at T2, 0.57 (p < 0.05) for M_MAS and 0.46 - 0.45 (p = 0.06) for the MAL values. However, no correlation was seen for the difference between the two sessions.

CONCLUSIONS: The results confirm that the wrist acceleration can differentiate between the affected and non-affected arm, and that there is a positive correlation between accelerometry and clinical measures. Many of the patients did not change their M-MAS or MAL scores during the rehabilitation period, which may explain why no correlation was seen for the difference between measurements during the rehabilitation period. Further studies should include continuous accelerometry throughout the rehabilitation period to reduce the impact of day-to-day variability.

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