Objectives: To analyse side difference in bilateral trunk muscles in patients with hemiparetic stroke, to relate it with impairment and disability variables and to evaluate longitudinal changes. Methods: In a sample of 83 inpatients with hemiparetic stroke undergoing rehabilitation, we measured the cross-sectional area of the paravertebral muscle and thigh muscles using computed tomography at admission and discharge. Classifying them by paravertebral muscle side difference (group I: contralateral > ipsilateral; II: contralateral = ipsilateral; III: contralateral < ipsilateral) we analysed group difference in the Stroke Impairment Assessment Set, the Functional Independence Measure and walk velocity. Results: In contrast to thigh muscles, the paravertebral muscle cross-sectional area was significantly greater on the side contralateral to the brain lesion. Discharge paravertebral muscle cross-sectional area increased significantly from admission values. The Stroke Impairment Assessment Set, Functional Independence Measure and walk velocity were significantly lower in group I. Conclusion: The contralateral paravertebral muscle cross-sectional area was larger than the ipsilateral ones, and this was related to the degree of impairment and functional limitations.
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