Individuals with stroke have a high incidence of bone fractures and approximately 30% of these fractures occur in the upper extremity. The high risk of falls and the decline in bone and muscle health make the chronic stroke population particularly prone to upper extremity fractures. This was the first study to investigate the bone mineral content (BMC), bone mineral density (BMD), and soft tissue composition of the upper extremities and their relationship to stroke-related impairments in ambulatory individuals with chronic stroke (onset >1 year). Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to acquire total body scans on 56 (22 women) community-dwelling individuals (≥50 years of age) with chronic stroke. BMC (g) and BMD (g/cm2), lean mass (g), and fat mass (g) for each arm were derived from the total body scans. The paretic upper extremity was evaluated for muscle strength (hand-held dynamometry), impairment of motor function (Fugl-Meyer motor assessment), spasticity (Modified Ashworth Scale), and amount of use of the paretic arm in daily activities (Motor Activity Log). Results showed that the paretic arm had significantly lower BMC (13.8%, P < 0.001), BMD (4.5%, P < 0.001), and lean mass (9.0%, P < 0.001) but higher fat mass (6.3%, P = 0.028) than the non-paretic arm. Multiple regression analysis showed that lean mass in the paretic arm, height, and muscle strength were significant predictors (R2= 0.810, P < 0.001) of the paretic arm BMC. Height, muscle strength, and gender were significant predictors (R2= 0.822, P < 0.001) of lean mass in the paretic arm. These results highlight the potential of muscle strengthening to promote bone health of the paretic arm in individuals with chronic stroke.
- Cerebrovascular accident
ASJC Scopus subject areas