Abstract

Importance: Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) is a common treatment for children with unilateral cerebral palsy (CP). Although clinic-based assessments have demonstrated improvements in arm function after CIMT, whether these changes are translated and sustained outside of a clinic setting remains unclear.

Objective: Accelerometers were used to quantify arm movement for children with CP 1 wk before, during, and 4 wk or more after CIMT; measurements were compared with those from typically developing (TD) peers.

Design: Observational.

Setting: Tertiary hospital and community.

Participants: Seven children with CP (5 boys, 2 girls; average [AVE] age ± standard deviation [SD] = 7.4 ± 1.2 yr) and 7 TD peers (2 boys, 5 girls; AVE age ± SD = 7.0 ± 2.3 yr).

Intervention: 30-hr CIMT protocol.

Outcomes and Measures: Use ratio, magnitude ratio, and bilateral magnitude were calculated from the accelerometer data. Clinical measures were administered before and after CIMT, and parent surveys assessed parent and child perceptions of wearing accelerometers.

Results: During CIMT, the frequency and magnitude of paretic arm use among children with CP increased in the clinic and in daily life. After CIMT, although clinical scores showed sustained improvement, the children’s accelerometry data reverted to baseline values. Children and parents in both cohorts had positive perceptions of accelerometer use.

Conclusions and Relevance: The lack of sustained improvement in accelerometry metrics after CIMT suggests that therapy gains did not translate to increased movement outside the clinic. Additional therapy may be needed to help transfer gains outside the clinic.

What This Article Adds: Accelerometer measurements were effective at monitoring arm movement outside of the clinic during CIMT and suggested that additional interventions may be needed after CIMT to sustain benefits.

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