Upper limb function in adults with Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Bart Bartels , Robert F. Pangalila, Michael P. Bergen, Nicolle A.M. Cobben, Henk J. Stam, Marij E. Roebroeck
Objective: To determine upper limb function and associated factors in adults with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Subjects: A sample of 70 men with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (age range 20–43 years).
Methods: General motor function and, in particular, upper limb distal motor function, were assessed with the Motor Function Measure. Muscle strength and range of motion of the upper limb were evaluated using hand-held dynamometry, manual muscle-testing and goniometry. Associations were studied using Spearman’s correlation coefficients and multiple linear regression analysis.
Results: General motor function was severely impaired. Wide variability was found in distal motor function, muscle strength and range of motion of the upper limb, especially in early adulthood. Muscle strength and range of motion explained 76% of the variance in upper limb distal motor function.
Conclusion: This study illustrates a large variability in upper limb function in adult patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and identifies muscle strength and range of motion as factors strongly associated with upper limb function. These results suggest that preserving muscle strength and range of motion in Duchenne patients might be relevant for a better outcome of distal motor function of the upper limb when adult.
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