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Scientific Articles

Variables associated with upper extremity function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

key information

source: Journal of Neurology

year: 2016

authors: Janssen MM, Hendriks JC, Geurts AC, de Groot IJ


Preserving upper extremity (UE) function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is extremely important as it is related to independence and quality of life. For clinical decision making, knowledge of variables associated with UE function is necessary. This knowledge is, however, limited. Therefore, this study aims to gain more insight into the variables associated with UE function in DMD. Data from an international web-based questionnaire on UE function, obtained from 213 DMD patients, were used. Six dependent variables regarding UE function were used in multivariable linear regression analyses. In addition, 26 independent variables regarding patient characteristics, medication, therapy, supportive aids, pain, stiffness and participation were used. Twelve independent variables showed a significant relation to UE function. Variables with a negative relation to UE function were: later disease stage, occurrence of scoliosis, higher age, use of UE splints, more frequent stiffness complaints, more limitations due to stiffness, more frequent elbow pain, and having physical therapy. A positive relation with UE function was seen for going to school or work, use of corticosteroids, higher BMI, and higher age at diagnosis. These variables explained 56-81 % of the variation of the different measures of UE function. Knowledge of variables associated with UE function is very important in the clinical management of DMD patients. The results of this study suggest that corticosteroid use and participation in school and work related activities are positively related to UE function in DMD patients, as well as reducing pain and stiffness and preventing scoliosis.

organization: Radboud University Medical Center, The Netherlands

DOI: 10.1007/s00415-016-8193-1

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