Objective: To evaluate sensory function in the unaffected hand of unilateral stroke patients.
Background: Ipsilateral motor deficits have been described in stroke patients, but sensory function has usually been reported to be normal in the unaffected limbs.
Method: Twenty-five patients (19 males, 6 females, 58.24±11.11 y old) with first-ever stroke, in the chronic phase (mean interval after stroke: 43.8±55.4 mo), who fulfilled the inclusion criteria, and 25 age-matched and sex-matched healthy control subjects (19 males, 6 females, 58.60±11.32 y old) participated in the study. Ipsilateral hand sensory function was assessed with a Moving Touch-Pressure test; motor performance was evaluated by the Box and Block test and grip strength. The examiner was not blinded to the subject's neurologic status.
Results: Stroke patients had a mean Moving Touch-Pressure score of 79.77%±10.74% whereas the control group had a mean score of 89.10%±8.09% (P<0.01). Mean Box and Block scores were 58.4±8.27 and 68.08±8.98, respectively (P<0.01).
Conclusions: In addition to motor dysfunction, decreased sensitivity to moving tactile stimuli may contribute to clumsiness of the unaffected arm of unilateral stroke patients.
Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil
Reprints: Joaquim P. Brasil-Neto, MD, PhD, Universidade de Brasília, Laboratório de Neurociências e Comportamento, ICC-SUL, Módulo 8, Brasilia, DF, Brazil 70910-900 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received for publication November 1, 2007; accepted July 9, 2008