CLINICAL DO'S & DON'TS: Neurologic assessment for pronator drift

March 2004 
Volume 34  Number 3
Pages 22 - 22
  PDF Version Available!




  • Figure. Assess for w...

  • Figure. If the patie...

    A SENSITIVE MEASURE of weakness, pronator drift can indicate that the arm's motor control center on the opposite side of the brain isn't functioning properly.


    * Explain the procedure to your patient. Stand close to him and protect him from falling.

    * Help him stand (or raise the head of his bed if he can't). Ask him to fully extend both arms with his palms up, as if carrying a pizza box. Tell him to hold this position and close his eyes. Count to 20. If he holds the position well, his response is normal.

    Figure. Assess for weakness by observing whether either arm drifts downward. Either palm turning downward indicates forearm pronation. Downward drift of the arm with flexion of the fingers and elbow also may occur. Any of these changes could indicate problems with the upper motor ...

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