To explore whether intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy improves ambulation in stroke survivors.
Tertiary care center.
Ten adults with poststroke hemiparesis who were ambulatory at the time of pump implantation.
Implantation of ITB pump after inadequate control of spasticity with other interventions. Time from stroke onset to implantation averaged 28.6 months (range, 9-55mo).
Customary walking speed was measured from the time required to walk 50ft (15m) at a self-selected pace. Evaluators rated spastic hypertonia and functional mobility.
Statistically significant improvements occurred in walking speed, functional mobility ratings, and spasticity (P<.05) at a follow-up interval that averaged 8.9 months. Mean walking speed over 50ft improved from 36.6 to 52cm/s. Mean Modified Ashworth Scale scores in the muscles of the affected lower limb improved from 2.0 to 0.4. Normal muscle strength (5/5) was preserved in the unaffected limbs.
This preliminary study suggests that ITB therapy, in combination with physical therapy, may improve walking speed and functional mobility in ambulatory individuals with poststroke spastic hemiplegia.