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Multimodal assessment of the motor system in patients with chronic ischemic stroke

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Sehm,  Bernhard
Department of Neurology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Villringer,  Arno
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Nikulin,  Vadim V.
Centre for Cognition and Decision Making, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Nazarova, M., Kulikova, S., Piradov, M. A., Limonova, A. S., Dobrynina, L. A., Konovalov, R. N., et al. (2021). Multimodal assessment of the motor system in patients with chronic ischemic stroke. Stroke, 52(1), 241-249. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.028832.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-A9B5-E
Abstract
Background and Purpose: Despite continuing efforts in the multimodal assessment of the motor system after stroke, conclusive findings on the complementarity of functional and structural metrics of the ipsilesional corticospinal tract integrity and the role of the contralesional hemisphere are still lacking. This research aimed to find the best combination of motor system metrics, allowing the classification of patients into 3 predefined groups of upper limb motor recovery. Methods: We enrolled 35 chronic ischemic stroke patients (mean 47 [26–66] years old, 29 [6–58] months poststroke) with a single supratentorial lesion and unilateral upper extremity weakness. Patients were divided into 3 groups, depending on upper limb motor recovery: good, moderate, and bad. Nonparametric statistical tests and regression analysis were used to investigate the relationships among microstructural (fractional anisotropy (FA) ratio of the corticospinal tracts at the internal capsule (IC) level (classic method) and along the length of the tracts (Fréchet distance), and of the corpus callosum) and functional (motor evoked potentials [MEPs] for 2 hand muscles) motor system metrics. Stratification rules were also tested using a decision tree classifier. Results: IC FA ratio in the IC and MEP absence were both equally discriminative of the bad motor outcome (96% accuracy). For the 3 recovery groups’ classification, the best parameter combination was IC FA ratio and the Fréchet distance between the contralesional and ipsilesional corticospinal tract FA profiles (91% accuracy). No other metrics had any additional value for patients’ classification. MEP presence differed for 2 investigated muscles. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that better separation between 3 motor recovery groups may be achieved when considering the similarity between corticospinal tract FA profiles along its length in addition to region of interest-based assessment and lesion load calculation. Additionally, IC FA ratio and MEP absence are equally important markers for poor recovery, while for MEP probing it may be important to investigate more than one hand muscle.