Bone mineral loss after stroke in affected extremities can increase the prevalence of fractures that interrupt the rehabilitation programme and lower the level of activity. In stroke rehabilitation, precise bone mineral measurement is needed in order to assess the risk of fractures. We defined five regions-of-interest of the upper extremity (proximal humerus, distal forearm, distal radius, distal ulna and hand) consistently, so that the position was comfortable for hemiplegic patients to maintain during the measurement. The aim of this study was to determine whether our method using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry is useful in hemiplegic patients. Ten normal subjects and 15 hemiplegic patients were studied. In normal subjects the reproducibility of our method was evaluated by repeated measurements of both the right and left sides. In hemiplegic patients the reproducibility was evaluated by repeated measurements of the affected side. The coefficient of variation (CV) values were obtained for BMD (0.7-1.7%) and BMC (0.7-2.3%) in normal subjects, and BMD (1.3-2.1%) and BMC (1.7-5.4%) in hemiplegic patients. The CV for the side-to-side BMD and BMC ratios in the normal subjects ranged from 1.1% to 2.2% and from 1.8% to 3.1%, respectively. Our study shows that the reproducibility of our method is sufficient for application to hemiplegic patients.
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