Time Course Analysis of the Effects of Botulinum Toxin Type A on Elbow Spasticity Based on Biomechanic and Electromyographic Parameters

Hsin Min Lee, Jia Jin Jason Chen, Yi Ning Wu, Yu Lin Wang, Sheng Chih Huang, Maria Piotrkiewicz

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Lee H-M, Chen J-JJ, Wu Y-N, Wang Y-L, Huang S-C, Piotrkiewicz M. Time course analysis of the effects of botulinum toxin type A on elbow spasticity based on biomechanic and electromyographic parameters. Objective: To quantify changes of elbow spasticity over time after botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) injection in the upper extremity of stroke patients. Design: Before-after trial in which the therapeutic effects were followed up at 2, 6, and 9 weeks after the BTX-A injection (Botox). Setting: Hospital. Participants: Chronic stroke patients (N=8) with upper-limb spasticity. Intervention: BTX-A was injected in upper-limb muscles, including the biceps brachii. Main Outcome Measures: Treatment effects were quantified as the changes in the velocity and the length dependence of hyperexcitable stretch reflexes. Manual sinusoid stretches of the elbow joint at 4 frequencies (1/3, 1/2, 1, 3/2Hz) over a movement range of 60° were performed on patients by using a portable device. The Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS), biomechanic viscosity, and the reflexive electromyography threshold (RET) of the biceps brachii were used to evaluate the degree of hypertonia. Results: The statistical analyses of the MAS score, biomechanic viscosity, and RET revealed a significant decrease in spasticity after the injection (all P<.05). Moreover, our quantitative parameters (biomechanic viscosity, RET) revealed small changes in spasticity after the BTX-A injection that could not be observed from clinical MAS evaluations. Five of 8 subjects showed a maximal reduction in spasticity (in terms of biomechanic viscosity value) within 6 weeks after the injection, whereas it was notable that all subjects exhibited peak RET values at either 2 or 6 weeks after the injection with variable degrees of relapse of spasticity. Conclusions: Early relapse of spasticity (within 9 weeks of the injection) can be detected from biomechanic and neurophysiologic assessments in a clinical setup. These quantitative indices provide valuable information for clinicians when making decisions to perform additional rehabilitation interventions or another BTX-A injection in the early stages of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-699
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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