Validity and reliability of an electromyography-based upper limb assessment quantifying selective voluntary motor control in children with upper motor neuron lesions
Keller, Jeffrey W.
van Hedel, Hubertus J. A.
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Keller, J. W., Fahr, A., Balzer, J., Lieber, J. & van Hedel, H. J. A. (2021) Validity and reliability of an electromyography-based upper limb assessment quantifying selective voluntary motor control in children with upper motor neuron lesions. Science Progess, 104(2).
Current clinical assessments evaluating selective voluntary motor control are measured on an ordinal scale. We combined the Selective Control of the Upper Extremity Scale (SCUES) with surface electromyography to develop a more objective and interval-scaled assessment of selective voluntary motor control. The resulting Similarity Index (SI) quantifies the similarity of muscle activation patterns. We aimed to evaluate the validity and reliability of this new assessment named SISCUES (Similarity Index of the SCUES) in children with upper motor neuron lesions. Thirty-three patients (12.2 years [8.8;14.9]) affected by upper motor neuron lesions with mild to moderate impairments and 31 typically developing children (11.6 years [8.5;13.9]) participated. We calculated reference muscle activation patterns for the SISCUES using data of 33 neurologically healthy adults (median [1st; 3rd quantile]: 32.5 [27.9; 38.3]). We calculated Spearman correlations (ρ) between the SISCUES and the SCUES and the Manual Ability Classification System (MACS) to establish concurrent validity. Discriminative validity was tested by comparing scores of patients and healthy peers with a robust ANCOVA. Intraclass correlation coefficients2,1 and minimal detectable changes indicated relative and absolute reliability. The SISCUES correlates strongly with SCUES (ρ = 0.76, p < 0.001) and moderately with the MACS (ρ = −0.58, p < 0.001). The average SISCUES can discriminate between patients and peers. The intraclass correlation coefficient2,1 was 0.90 and the minimal detectable change was 0.07 (8% of patients’ median score). Concurrent validity, discriminative validity, and reliability of the SISCUES were established. Further studies are needed to evaluate whether it is responsive enough to detect changes from therapeutic interventions.