Functional Deficits in the Less-Impaired Arm of Stroke Survivors Depend on Hemisphere of Damage and Extent of Paretic Arm Impairment

Candice Maenza, David C. Good, Carolee J. Winstein, David A. Wagstaff, Robert L. Sainburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background. Previous research has detailed the hemisphere dependence and specific kinematic deficits observed for the less-affected arm of patients with unilateral stroke. Objective. We now examine whether functional motor deficits in the less-affected arm, measured by standardized clinical measures of motor function, also depend on the hemisphere that was damaged and on the severity of contralesional impairment. Methods. We recruited 48 left-hemisphere-damaged (LHD) participants, 62 right-hemisphere-damaged participants, and 54 age-matched control participants. Measures of motor function included the following: (1) Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function Test (JHFT), (2) Grooved Pegboard Test (GPT), and (3) grip strength. We measured the extent of contralesional arm impairment with the upper-extremity component of the Fugl-Meyer (UEFM) assessment of motor impairment. Results. Ipsilesional limb functional performance deficits (JHFT) varied with both the damaged hemisphere and severity of contralesional arm impairment, with the most severe deficits expressed in LHD participants with severe contralesional impairment (UEFM). GPT and grip strength varied with severity of contralesional impairment but not with hemisphere. Conclusions. Stroke survivors with the most severe paretic arm impairment, who must rely on their ipsilesional arm for performing daily activities, have the greatest motor deficit in the less-affected arm. We recommend remediation of this arm to improve functional independence in this group of stroke patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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