Does the score on the MRC strength scale reflect instrumented measures of maximal torque and muscle activity in post-stroke survivors?

Pawel Kiper, Daniele Rimini, Deborah Falla, Alfonc Baba, Sebastian Rutkowski, Lorenza Maistrello, Andrea Turolla

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Abstract

It remains unknown whether variation of scores on the Medical Research Council (MRC) scale for muscle strength is associated with operator-independent techniques: dynamometry and surface electromyography (sEMG). This study aimed to evaluate whether the scores of the MRC strength scale are associated with instrumented measures of torque and muscle activity in post-stroke survivors with severe hemiparesis both before and after an intervention. Patients affected by a first ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke within 6 months before enrollment and with complete paresis were included in the study. The pre- and post-treatment assessments included the MRC strength scale, sEMG, and dynamometry assessment of the triceps brachii (TB) and biceps brachii (BB) as measures of maximal elbow extension and flexion torque, respectively. Proprioceptive-based training was used as a treatment model, which consisted of multidirectional exercises with verbal feedback. Each treatment session lasted 1 h/day, 5 days a week for a total 15 sessions. Nineteen individuals with stroke participated in the study. A significant correlation between outcome measures for the BB (MRC and sEMG p = 0.0177, ρ = 0.601; MRC and torque p = 0.0001, ρ = 0.867) and TB (MRC and sEMG p = 0.0026, ρ = 0.717; MRC and torque p = 0.0001, ρ = 0.873) were observed post intervention. Regression models revealed a relationship between the MRC score and sEMG and torque measures for both the TB and BB. The results confirmed that variation on the MRC strength scale is associated with variation in sEMG and torque measures, especially post intervention. The regression model showed a causal relationship between MRC scale scores, sEMG, and torque assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8175
Number of pages13
JournalSensors
Volume21
Issue number24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Survivors
  • Torque

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