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Abstract

Comparison of neuromuscular fatigue in chronic stroke patients with healthy controls

Author(s): Shweta Kotwani, Sharmishtha Gadgil and Parag Ranade

Background and Introduction: Fatigue has been defined as a feeling of early exhaustion, weariness, lack of energy and aversion to effort. Glader et al suggest that survivors of stroke with fatigue have a higher fatality rate three years after stroke due to its association with sedentary lifestyle. Neuromuscular fatigue is defined as an activity induced impairment in the ability to exert force, and is quantified by the reduction in force that a muscle or muscles can exert following or during an activity. Fatigue of the paretic leg muscles is likely to greatly impact walking function post-stroke. Therefore, quantitative measures of neuromuscular fatigue of the paretic leg muscles are expected to be associated with walking function in people post-stroke. There is scant research, which specifically investigates neuromuscular fatigue following stroke. The purpose of the study was to assess and compare the contribution of neuromuscular fatigue in patients following stroke with age and gender matched healthy participants.

Methodology: Subjects (N=80) were divided into experimental group (N=40) and control group (N=40) by purposive sampling. Patients who were already been diagnosed with chronic stroke (>6months) by Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) were included in the study. The muscle activity of the quadriceps and hamstrings on the subject’s paretic as well as non-paretic side were recorded using Dual Bio Amp/Stimulator. Pre- fatigue inducing exercise (Electromyography) EMG signals (integral mean values in mVs) were recorded by performing Maximal Voluntary Contraction (MVC) of both the muscles. Post-fatigue inducing exercise EMG signals (integral mean values in mVs) by performing Sit-To-Stand test (STS). Visual Analog Fatigue Scale (VAFS) was used to assess the subjective levels of fatigue pre and post exercise while Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) was used to assess chronic fatigue.

Results: In paretic, non-paretic and control study group, the mean pre-fatigue EMG activity of hamstrings is significantly higher compared to mean post-fatigue EMG activity of hamstrings (P-value<0.001). In paretic, non-paretic and control study group, the mean pre-fatigue EMG activity of quadriceps is significantly higher compared to mean post-fatigue EMG activity of quadriceps (P-value<0.001).

Conclusion: It was concluded that there is a difference seen in the peripheral neuromuscular fatigue in the chronic stroke individuals when compared with age and gender matched control group.


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