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Accelerometer measurement of upper extremity movement after stroke: a systematic review of clinical studies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Marika Noorkoiv, Emerita Professor Helen Rodgers, Professor Christopher PriceORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The aim of this review was to identify and summarise publications, which have reported clinical applications of upper limb accelerometry for stroke within free-living environments and make recommendations for future studies. Data was searched from MEDLINE (R), Scopus, IEEExplore and Compendex databases. The final search was 31st October 2013. Any study was included which reported clinical assessments in parallel with accelerometry in a free-living hospital or home setting. Study quality is reflected by participant numbers, methodological approach, technical details of the equipment used, blinding of clinical measures, whether safety and compliance data was collected. First author screened articles for inclusion and inclusion of full text articles and data extraction was confirmed by the third author. Out of 1375 initial abstracts, 8 articles were included. All participants were stroke patients. Accelerometers were worn for either 24 hours or 3 days. Data were collected as summed acceleration counts over a specified time or as the duration of active/inactive periods. Activity in both arms was reported by all studies and the ratio of impaired to unimpaired arm activity was calculated in six studies. The correlation between clinical assessments and accelerometry was tested in five studies and significant correlations were found. The efficacy of a rehabilitation intervention was assessed using accelerometry by three studies: in two studies both accelerometry and clinical test scores detected a post-treatment difference but in one study accelerometry data did not change despite clinical test scores showing motor and functional improvements. Further research is needed to understand the additional value of accelerometry as a measure of upper limb use and function in a clinical context. A simple and easily interpretable accelerometry approach is required.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Noorkoiv M, Rodgers H, Price CI

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation

Year: 2014

Volume: 11

Online publication date: 09/10/2014

Acceptance date: 02/10/2014

ISSN (electronic): 1743-0003



DOI: 10.1186/1743-0003-11-144