Published:  2022-08

The Lack of Systemic and Subclinical Side Effects of Botulinum Neurotoxin Type-A in Patients Affected by Post-Stroke Spasticity: A Longitudinal Cohort Study

Authors:  Marco Battaglia, Margherita Beatrice Borg, Lara Torgano, Alberto Loro, Lucia Cosenza, Michele Bertoni, Alessandro Picelli, Andrea Santamato, Marco Invernizzi, Francesca Uberti, Claudio Molinari, Stefano Carda, Alessio Baricich

Tags:  autonomic nervous system, botulinum toxin, heart rate, muscle spasticity, rehabilitation, stroke

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Botulinum Neurotoxin type-A (BoNT-A) is the treatment of choice for focal post-stroke spasticity (PSS). Due to its mechanism of action and the administration method, some authors raised concern about its possible systemic diffusion leading to contralateral muscle weakness and autonomic nervous system (ANS) alterations. Stroke itself is a cause of motor disability and ANS impairment; therefore, it is mandatory to prevent any source of additional loss of strength and adjunctive ANS disturbance. We enrolled 15 hemiparetic stroke survivors affected by PSS already addressed to BoNT-A treatment. Contralateral handgrip strength and ANS parameters, such as heart rate variability, impedance cardiography values, and respiratory sinus arrythmia, were measured 24 h before (T0) and 10 days after (T1) the ultrasound (US)-guided BoNT-A injection. At T1, neither strength loss nor modification of the basal ANS patterns were found. These findings support recent literature about the safety profile of BoNT-A, endorsing the importance of the US guide for a precise targeting and the sparing of “critical” structures as vessels and nerves.