Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability in the United States and the third most frequent cause of death, following diseases of the heart and cancer [1]. Of the more than 700,000 Americans who experience a stroke each year [1], two-thirds survive [2]. Currently there are more than five million stroke survivors in the U.S. [1], many of whom have long-term motor and sensory impairments, especially in the arm and hand [3]. Studies report that 69% of patients who were admitted to a rehabilitation unit following stroke have mild to severe upper extremity dysfunction [4], and only 14% to 16% of stroke survivors with initial upper extremity hemiparesis regained near-complete motor function [3,4]. Chronic deficits following stroke are especially prevalent in the hand and therefore diminish the capacity to grasp [5]. Hand grasp has great functional importance for performing activities of daily living. The impairment in grasping significantly lowers stroke survivors’ functional independence.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.