Assessment of Strength Deficits in Eight Paretic Upper Extremity Muscle Groups of Stroke Patients with Hemiplegia

Richard W Bohannon, Melissa B Smith


This retrospective investigation was undertaken to describe and compare the initial and discharge strength deficits of eight upper extremity muscle groups of 42 patients who were hemiparetic secondary to cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs). Static strengths of the eight muscle groups were measured using a hand-held dynamometer, and strength deficits were calculated against the side ipsilateral to the side affected by the CVA. A two-way analysis of variance for repeated measures revealed significant differences (p < .001) in the strength deficits of the eight muscle groups and between initial and discharge strength deficits. The strength deficits of the shoulder medial rotator and abductor muscle groups were significantly less than those of any other muscle group. No difference was found in the proportion of muscle groups improving in strength in patients tested within six weeks after the onset of hemiplegia versus patients tested six weeks later. Our results do not confirm the common expectation of relatively lesser involvement of the elbow flexor muscles after a CVA. The results do suggest that patients improve in muscle strength concurrent with a rehabilitation program.

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  • Received September 23, 1985.
  • Accepted May 21, 1986.