Quantifying Real-World Upper-Limb Activity Via Patient-Initiated Movement After Nerve Reconstruction for Upper Brachial Plexus Injury.
(Clinical Trial;Journal Article)
BACKGROUND: A critical concept in brachial plexus reconstruction is the accurate assessment of functional outcomes. The current standard for motor outcome assessment is clinician-elicited, outpatient clinic-based, serial evaluation of range of motion and muscle power. However, discrepancies exist between such clinical measurements and actual patient-initiated use. We employed emerging technology in the form of accelerometry-based motion detectors to quantify real-world arm use after brachial plexus surgery. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate (1) the ability of accelerometry-based motion detectors to assess functional outcome and (2) the real-world arm use of patients after nerve transfer for brachial plexus injury, through a pilot study. METHODS: Five male patients who underwent nerve transfer after brachial plexus injury wore bilateral motion detectors for 7 d. The patients also underwent range-of-motion evaluation and completed multiple patient-reported outcome surveys. RESULTS: The average age of the recruits was 41 yr (±17 yr), and the average time from operation was 2 yr (±1 yr). The VT (time of use ratio) for the affected side compared to the unaffected side was 0.73 (±0.27), and the VM (magnitude ratio) was 0.63 (±0.59). VT strongly and positively correlated with shoulder flexion and shoulder abduction: 0.97 (P = .008) and 0.99 (P = .002), respectively. CONCLUSION: Accelerometry-based activity monitors can successfully assess real-world functional outcomes after brachial plexus reconstruction. This pilot study demonstrates that patients after nerve transfer are utilizing their affected limbs significantly in daily activities and that recovery of shoulder function is critical.
Smith, BW; Chang, KW-C; Saake, SJ; Yang, LJ-S; Chung, KC; Brown, SH
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