Background: Intensive bimanual training results in more improvement in hand function in children with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy (USCP) than lower intensity conventional interventions. However, it is not known whether combined upper and lower extremity training in an intensive protocol is more efficacious for upper and lower functional abilities than conventional therapies provided in usual customary care.
Objective: To determine the efficacy of Hand and Arm Bimanual Intensive Therapy Including Lower Extremity (HABIT-ILE) for children with USCP.
Methods: Twenty-four children with USCP were randomized into 2 groups: an immediate HABIT-ILE group (IHG, initially receiving HABIT-ILE, 10 days = 90 hours), and a delayed HABIT-ILE group (DHG), which continued their conventional/ongoing treatment for an intended total duration of 90 hours. In phase 2, children in the DHG were crossed over to receive HABIT-ILE and children of the IHG were followed in their ongoing conventional therapy. Children were assessed using the Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA, primary outcome), the ABILHAND-Kids, and the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory. Dexterity (Box and Blocks Test [BBT]) and pinch strength were also measured. Locomotor abilities were assessed with Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT, primary outcome) and ABILOCO-kids. Social participation was measured with the Assessment of Life-HABITs.
Results: A 2 (groups) × 3 (test sessions) analysis of variance indicated significant improvements for primary outcomes (AHA, P < .001; 6MWT, P = .002) and all secondary assessments except BBT, step length and bodyweight distribution following HABIT-ILE, but not conventional therapy.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that combined upper and lower extremity in an intensive training protocol may be efficacious for improving both upper and lower extremity function in children with USCP.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01700777.
Keywords: bimanual training; cerebral palsy; children; dose; gait; hand; hemiplegia; intensive training; lower extremity rehabilitation; motor skill learning; neurorehabilitation; posture; upper extremity rehabilitation.
© The Author(s) 2014.