The International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury: Intra-rater agreement of total motor and sensory scores in the pediatric population

Ross S. Chafetz, John P. Gaughan, Lawrence C. Vogel, Randal Betz, M. J. Mulcahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISCSCI) is the gold standard for evaluating and classifying the neurological consequence of spinal cord injury (SCI). Objective: To determine the within-rater agreement for total scores of light touch (LT), pin prick (PP), and total motor (TM) in children and youth. Design: Part of a larger cross-sectional study to determine the intra-rater reliability of the standards when applied to children and youth. Participants/Methods: A total of 187 subjects participated in 2 repeated examinations performed by the same rater. A total of 7 raters participated in this study. Intraclass correlations coefficients (ICCs), with 95% CI were calculated to determine agreement between the 2 examinations for LT, PP, and TM. Results: With the exception of subjects younger than 6 years, agreement on repeated total PP, LT, and TM scores were good to excellent, as shown by ICC values of 0.92 or higher. Although agreement was high for the youngest age group for LT (ICC = 0.920), PP (ICC = 0.957), and TM (ICC = 0.971), all of the lower 95% CI values fell well below 0.66, indicating poor precision. All subgroups had good to high agreement for total PP, LT, and TM scores, as indicated by ICC values of 0.87 and higher. There were lower 95% CI (LCI) values for the 6- to 11-year-old group with incomplete paraplegia due to the low number of subjects in that subgroup (N = 4). The LCI values were poor for PP for the subgroups with 6-to 11-year-olds with incomplete tetraplegia (LCI = 0.675) and the 12- to 15-year-old group with incomplete paraplegia (LCI = 0.707) and for TM for 16- to 21-year-old group with complete paraplegia (LCI = 0.706). Conclusions: In children as young as 6 years, within-rater agreement on LT, PP, and TM exceeded recommended values for clinical measures. With the exception of 6- to 11-year-olds with incomplete injuries, type of injury and severity of injury were not factors in agreement. Although more work is needed to define the lower age limit in which the ISCSCI have utility, these data represent growing evidence supporting the use of the ISCSCI when evaluating the neurological consequence of SCI in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-161
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Child
  • Classification
  • International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury
  • Measurement
  • Paraplegia
  • Physical examination, neurological
  • Spinal cord injuries, complete, incomplete
  • Tetraplegia

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