This study aimed to investigate factors related to paretic upper limb use within the first 4 wks after stroke.
Sixty inpatients within 4 wks of first-time stroke were stratified by severity defined by Fugl-Meyer Upper Limb scores: severe = 0–22, moderate = 23–50, and mild = 51–66. All wore a wrist accelerometer on the paretic upper limb (24 hrs). Factors investigated were the following measures: upper limb motor impairment; mobility; balance; functional independence; sensory impairment; cognitive function; social factors; environmental restriction; and knowledge. Individual and multivariate quantile regression analyses were performed.
Upper limb motor impairment, mobility, balance, functional independence, self-efficacy, and knowing how to use the paretic upper limb were significantly related to upper limb use across the three impairment groups (pseudo R2 = 0.079–0.492, P < 0.02). Multivariate regression showed the only significant factor in moderate and mild group was Fugl-Meyer Upper Limb score (moderate pseudo R2 = 0.55, mild pseudo R2 = 0.54, P < 0.001). For the severe group, Fugl-Meyer upper limb score and step count were significant (severe pseudo R2 = 0.47, P ≤ 0.030).
Upper limb motor impairment is significantly associated with paretic upper limb use across three impairment groups and step count with the severe group. Strategies to improve upper limb motor impairment and increase mobility may be required to increase upper limb use.