Shoulder ultrasound imaging in the post-stroke population: a systematic review and meta-analysis


  • Ting-Yu Lin Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Lo-Hsu Medical Foundation, Inc., Lotung Poh-Ai Hospital, Yilan, Taiwan
  • Peng-Chieh Shen Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Lo-Hsu Medical Foundation, Inc., Lotung Poh-Ai Hospital, Yilan, Taiwan
  • Ke-Vin Chang Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Wei-Ting Wu Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Levent Özçakar Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Hacettepe University Medical School, Ankara, Turkey



hemiplegia, rotator cuff, pain, ultrasonography, rehabilitation


Objective: Post-stroke shoulder pain is a serious challenge for stroke survivors. The aim of this meta-analysis was to review the literature to confirm information on structural changes in post-stroke shoulders detected by ultrasound examination.

Methods: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and were searched until 7 December 2022, for studies describing shoulder sonographic findings in stroke patients. Two independent authors selected the studies, extracted the data, and performed the critical appraisal.

Results: A total of 23 clinical studies were included. The most prevalent pathologies in hemiplegic shoulders pertained to the biceps long head tendon (41.4%), followed by the supraspinatus tendon (33.2%), subdeltoid bursa (29.3%), acromioclavicular joint (15.0%), and subscapularis tendon (9.2%). The common pathological findings encompassed bicipital peritendinous effusion (39.2%), biceps tendinopathy (35.5%), subdeltoid bursitis (29.3%) and supraspinatus tendinopathy (24.6%). Biceps long head tendon and supraspinatus tendon abnormalities were observed significantly more in the hemiplegic (vs contralateral) shoulders, with odds ratios of 3.814 (95% confidence interval 2.044–7.117) and 2.101 (95% confidence interval 1.257–3.512), respectively. No correlation was observed between motor function and shoulder pathology.

Conclusion: Ultrasonography enabled the identification of common shoulder pathologies after stroke. Further research is needed to establish the association between these changes and the clinical course of stroke patients.


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How to Cite

Lin, T.-Y., Shen, P.-C., Chang, K.-V., Wu, W.-T., & Özçakar , L. (2023). Shoulder ultrasound imaging in the post-stroke population: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 55, jrm13432.





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