Efficacy and feasibility of SENSory relearning of the UPPer limb (SENSUPP) in people with chronic stroke: A pilot randomized controlled trial

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Background: Sensorimotor impairments of the upper limb (UL) are common after stroke, but there is a lack of evidence-based interventions to improve functioning of UL. Objective: To evaluate (1) the efficacy of sensory relearning and task-specific training compared to task-specific training only, and (2) the feasibility of the training in chronic stroke. Design: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Setting: University hospital outpatient clinic. Participants: Twenty-seven participants (median age; 62 years, 20 men) were randomized to an intervention group (IG; n = 15) or to a control group (CG; n = 12). Intervention: Both groups received training twice weekly in 2.5-hour sessions for 5 weeks. The training in the IG consisted of sensory relearning, task-specific training, and home training. The training in the CG consisted of task-specific training. Main Outcome Measures: Primary outcome was sensory function (touch thresholds, touch discrimination, light touch, and proprioception). Secondary outcomes were dexterity, ability to use the hand in daily activities, and perceived participation. A blinded assessor conducted the assessments at baseline (T1), post intervention (T2), and at 3-month follow-up (T3). Nonparametric analyses and effect-size calculations (r) were performed. Feasibility was evaluated by a questionnaire. Results: After the training, only touch thresholds improved significantly from T1 to T2 (p =.007, r = 0.61) in the IG compared to the CG. Within the IG, significant improvements were found from T1 to T2 regarding use of the hand in daily activities (p =.001, r = 0.96) and movement quality (p =.004, r = 0.85) and from T1 to T3 regarding satisfaction with performance in meaningful activities (p =.004, r = 0.94). The CG significantly improved the performance of using the hand in meaningful activities from T1 to T2 (p =.017, r = 0.86). The training was well tolerated by the participants and performed without any adverse events. Conclusions: Combined sensory relearning and task-specific training may be a promising and feasible intervention to improve UL sensorimotor function after stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1461-1473
JournalPM and R
Issue number12
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Physiotherapy
  • Neurology


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