Clinical value of assessing motor performance in postacute stroke patients

J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2021 Jun 24;18(1):102. doi: 10.1186/s12984-021-00898-0.


Background: Rehabilitative treatment plans after stroke are based on clinical examinations of functional capacity and patient-reported outcomes. Objective information about daily life performance is usually not available, but it may improve therapy personalization.

Objective: To show that sensor-derived information about daily life performance is clinically valuable for counseling and the planning of rehabilitation programs for individual stroke patients who live at home. Performance information is clinically valuable if it can be used as a decision aid for the therapeutic management or counseling of individual patients.

Methods: This was an observational, cross-sectional case series including 15 ambulatory stroke patients. Motor performance in daily life was assessed with body-worn inertial sensors attached to the wrists, shanks and trunk that estimated basic physical activity and various measures of walking and arm activity in daily life. Stroke severity, motor function and activity, and degree of independence were quantified clinically by standard assessments and patient-reported outcomes. Motor performance was recorded for an average of 5.03 ± 1.1 h on the same day as the clinical assessment. The clinical value of performance information is explored in a narrative style by considering individual patient performance and capacity information.

Results: The patients were aged 59.9 ± 9.8 years (mean ± SD), were 6.5 ± 7.2 years post stroke, and had a National Institutes of Health Stroke Score of 4.0 ± 2.6. Capacity and performance measures showed high variability. There were substantial discrepancies between performance and capacity measures in some patients.

Conclusions: This case series shows that information about motor performance in daily life can be valuable for tailoring rehabilitative therapy plans and counseling according to the needs of individual stroke patients. Although the short recording time (average of 5.03 h) limited the scope of the conclusions, this study highlights the usefulness of objective measures of daily life performance for the planning of rehabilitative therapies. Further research is required to investigate whether information about performance in daily life leads to improved rehabilitative therapy results.

Keywords: Motor performance; Rehabilitation; Stroke; Wearable inertial sensors.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Stroke*
  • United States
  • Walking