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Bergmann, Jeannine; Krewer, Carmen; Selge, Charlotte; Müller, Friedemann; Jahn, Klaus (2016): The Subjective Postural Vertical Determined in Patients with Pusher Behavior During Standing. In: Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, Vol. 23, No. 3: pp. 184-190
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Abstract

Background: The subjective postural vertical (SPV), i.e., the perceived upright orientation of the body in relation to gravity, is disturbed in patients with pusher behavior. So far, the SPV has been measured only when these patients were sitting, and the results were contradictory as regards the side of the SPV deviation. Objective: The objective was to investigate the SPV in patients with different degrees of severity of pusher behavior while standing. Methods: Eight stroke patients with pusher behavior, ten age-matched stroke patients without pusher behavior, and ten age-matched healthy control subjects were included. The SPV (SPV error, SPV range) was assessed in the pitch and the roll planes. Pusher behavior was classified with the Burke Lateropulsion Scale (BLS). Results: In the pitch plane, the SPV range was significantly larger in pusher patients than in patients without pusher behavior or healthy controls. The SPV error was similar for groups. In the roll plane, the SPV error and the SPV range were significantly larger and more ipsilesionally tilted in the pusher group than in the other two groups. There was a significant correlation between the SPV error in the roll plane and the BLS score. Conclusions: The study revealed that patients with pusher behavior had an ipsilesional SPV tilt that decreased with decreasing severity of the behavior. The large uncertainty in verticality estimation in both planes indicates that their sensitivity for the perception of verticality in space is generally disturbed. These findings emphasize the importance of specific rehabilitation approaches to recalibrate the impaired inner model of verticality.