Measurement of Upper Limb Function in Spinal Cord Injury

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Introduction 

Currently there is no international consensus on what measures to use for tetraplegic upper limb function. [1] The use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) established by the World Health Organisation can assist in ensuring that measurement encompasses all domains of functioning and provide a common language of describing an individual functioning following illness or accident. [2]  To provide a complete picture of an individual’s functioning use of multiple measures that encompass the three domains of the ICF are recommended.  Commonly used measures are detailed in below and described fully in Sinnott et al (2016). [3] International efforts are currently underway to establish consensus on standardising key body functions and structure measures such as muscle strength testing, and grip and pinch dynamometry. [4]

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References

  1. Velstra I-M, Ballert CS, Cieza A. A systematic literature review of outcome measures for upper extremity function using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health as reference. Phys Med Rehabil  2011;3(9):846-860.
  2. World Health Organisation. International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health.Geneva: World Health Organisation; 2002.
  3. Sinnott KA, Dunn JA, Wangdell J, Johanson ME, Hall AS, Post MW. Measurement of Outcomes of Upper Limb Reconstructive Surgery for Tetraplegia. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2016;97(6, Supplement):S169-S181.
  4. Dunn J, Koch-Borner S, Johanson ME, Wangdell J. Towards consensus in assessing upper limb muscle strength and pinch and grip strength in people with tetraplegia having upper limb reconstructions. Spinal Cord. 2019 (submitted).