Relationships and Responsiveness of Six Upper Extremity Function Tests During the First Six Months of Recovery After Stroke.

Knowing how clinical tests are related to each other and whether tests are responsive to change are essential to evidence-based practice and sound research. The aims of this study were to determine relationships between six clinical tests of upper extremity function and responsiveness for each test during the first six months following stroke. Grip strength test, pinch strength test, Action Research Arm Test, Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function Test, Nine-Hole Peg Test, and the Stroke Impact Scale–Hand domain were administered to 33 subjects within one, three, and six months after stroke. Spearman correlations were used to analyze relationships between tests. Responsiveness was calculated using the single population effect size method. All tests were correlated with each other with absolute r-values ranging from 0.54 to 0.92 at one month, 0.57 to 0.97 at three months, and 0.41 to 0.97 at six months. All tests were at least moderately responsive to change, with effect sizes ranging from 0.50 to 1.02 from one to three months, and 0.56 to 0.86 (d) from one to six months.

The data collected in this study can aid clinicians and researchers in making decisions to use specific tests for measuring upper extremity function in people with hemiparesis during the first six months of recovery.