Identifying the brain regions associated with acute spasticity in patients diagnosed with an ischemic stroke.

Abstract

Spasticity is a common impairment found in patients that have been diagnosed with a stroke. Little is known about the pathophysiology of spasticity at the level of the brain. This retrospective study was performed to identify an association between the area of the brain affected by an ischemic stroke and the presence of acute spasticity. Physical and occupational therapy assessments from all patients (n = 441) that had suffered a stroke and were admitted into a local hospital over a 4-year period were screened for inclusion in this study. Subjects that fit the inclusion criteria were grouped according to the presence (n = 42) or absence (n = 129) of acute spasticity by the Modified Ashworth Scale score given during the hospital admission assessment. Magnetic resonance images from 20 subjects in the spasticity group and 52 from the control group were then compared using lesion density plots and voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping. An association of acute spasticity with the gray matter regions of the insula, basal ganglia, and thalamus was found in this study. White matter tracts including the pontine crossing tract, corticospinal tract, internal capsule, corona radiata, external capsule, and the superior fronto-occipital fasciculus were also found to be significantly associated with acute spasticity. This is the first study to describe an association between a region of the brain affected by an infarct and the presence of acute spasticity. Understanding the regions associated with acute spasticity will aid in understanding the pathophysiology of this musculoskeletal impairment at the level of the brain.

DOI: 10.1080/08990220.2016.1197114

Cite this paper

@article{Barlow2016IdentifyingTB, title={Identifying the brain regions associated with acute spasticity in patients diagnosed with an ischemic stroke.}, author={Susan J Barlow}, journal={Somatosensory & motor research}, year={2016}, volume={33 2}, pages={104-11} }