Determinants of estimated failure load in the distal radius after stroke: An HR-pQCT study

Tiev Miller, Michael T.C. Ying, Vivian W.Y. Hung, Charlotte S.L. Tsang, Huixi Ouyang, Raymond C.K. Chung, Ling Qin, Marco Y.C. Pang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Bone health is often compromised after stroke and the distal radius is a common site of fragility fractures. The macro- and mircoproperties of bone tissue after stroke and their clinical correlates are understudied. The objectives of the study were to use High-Resolution peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (HR-pQCT) to investigate the bone properties at the distal radius, and to identify the correlates of estimated failure load for the distal radius in people with chronic stroke. This was a cross-sectional study of 64 people with stroke (age: 60.8 ± 7.7 years, stroke duration: 5.7 ± 3.9 years) and 64 age- and sex-matched controls. Bilateral bone structural, densitometric, geometric and strength parameters of the distal radius were measured using HR-pQCT. The architecture, stiffness and echo intensity of the bilateral biceps brachii muscle and brachial artery blood flow were evaluated using diagnostic ultrasound. Other outcomes included the Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment (FMA), Motor Activity Log (MAL), and Composite Spasticity Scale (CSS). The results revealed a significant side (paretic vs non-paretic for the stroke group, non-dominant vs dominant for controls) by group (stroke vs control) interaction effect for estimated failure load, cortical area, cortical thickness, trabecular number and trabecular separation, and all volumetric density parameters. Post-hoc analysis showed percent side-to-side differences in bone outcomes were greater in the stroke group than the control group, with the exception of trabecular thickness and intracortical porosity. Among the HR-pQCT variables, percent side-to-side difference in trabecular volumetric bone mineral density contributed the most to the percent side-to-side difference in estimated failure load in the stroke group (R2 change = 0.334, β = 1.106). Stroke-related impairments (FMA, MAL, CSS) were found to be significant determinants of the percent side-to-side difference in estimated failure load (R2 change = 0.233, β = −0.480). This was the first study to examine bone microstructure post-stroke. We found that the paretic distal radius had compromised bone structural properties and lower estimated failure load compared to the non-paretic side. Motor impairment was a determinant of estimated bone strength at the distal radius and may be a potential intervention target for improving bone health post-stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115831
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Failure load
  • HR-pQCT
  • Radius
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


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