Objective: In a randomized, controlled, single-blind trial, to test the hypothesis that botulinum-A toxin (BTA) injections into the upper extremity of children with spastic hemiplegia improve upper extremity function.
Study design: Thirty children with hemiplegia, aged 2.5 to 10 years, were randomly assigned to receive: (1) a BTA injection into 1 or more of 3 muscle groups (biceps, volar forearm muscles, adductor pollicis) plus occupational therapy or (2) occupational therapy alone. Blinded outcomes obtained at baseline and at 1, 3, and 6 months included the Quality of Upper Extremity Skills Test (QUEST), goniometry measurements, grip strength, and Ashworth scores. The caregiver completed the self-care domain of the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory.
Results: Twenty-nine subjects completed the study. The QUEST demonstrated a significant improvement favoring the treatment group on a 2-way analysis of variance (F = 4.69, df = 1,83; P =.039). BTA treatment was also associated with an improvement in score on the self-care domain of the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (F = 4.68, df = 1,82; P =.04).
Conclusions: This study supports the effectiveness of BTA injections to improve upper extremity function of children with hemiplegia who have at least moderate spasticity.