Instrumented assessment of the effect of Botulinum Toxin-A in the medial hamstrings in children with cerebral palsy

L. Bar-On, E. Aertbeliën, G. Molenaers, A. Van Campenhout, B. Vandendoorent, A. Nieuwenhuys, E. Jaspers, C. Hunaerts, K. Desloovere

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This study examined the sensitivity of an instrumented spasticity assessment of the medial hamstrings (MEH) in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Nineteen children received Botulinum Toxin type A (BTX-A) injections in the MEH. Biomechanical (position and torque) and electrophysiological (surface electromyography, EMG) signals were integrated during manually-performed passive stretches of the MEH at low, medium and high velocity. Signals were examined at each velocity and between stretch velocities, and compared pre and post BTX-A (43 ± 16 days). Average change between preand post BTX-A was interpreted in view of the minimal detectable change (MDC) calculated from previously published reliability results. Improvements greater than the MDC were found for nearly all EMG-parameters and for torque parameters at high velocity and at high versus low velocity (p< 0.03), however large inter-subject variability was noted. Moderate correlations were found between the improvement in EMG and in torque (r= 0.52, p< 0.05). Biomechanical and electrophysiological parameters proved to be adequately sensitive to assess the response to treatment with BTX-A. Furthermore, studying both parameters at different velocities improves our understanding of spasticity and of the physiological effect of selective tone-reduction. This not only provides a clinical validation of the instrumented assessment, but also opens new avenues for further spasticity research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Biomechanics
  • Botulinum Toxin-A
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Electromyography
  • Spasticity

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