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Characteristics of Upper Limb Impairment Related to Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: Development of a Sensitive Hand Assessment (Graded Redefined Assessment of Strength, Sensibility, and Prehension Version Myelopathy)


Kalsi-Ryan, Sukhvinder; Riehm, Lauren E; Tetreault, Lindsay; Martin, Allan R; Teoderascu, Florentina; Massicotte, Eric; Curt, Armin; Verrier, Mary C; Velstra, Inge-Marie; Fehlings, Michael G (2020). Characteristics of Upper Limb Impairment Related to Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: Development of a Sensitive Hand Assessment (Graded Redefined Assessment of Strength, Sensibility, and Prehension Version Myelopathy). Neurosurgery, 86(3):E292-E299.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) involves spinal cord compression, which causes neurological decline. Neurological impairment in DCM is variable and can involve complex upper limb dysfunction including loss of manual dexterity, hyperreflexia, focal weakness, and sensory impairment. The modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score relies on the patients' subjective perceptions, whereas existing objective measures such as strength and sensory testing do not capture subtle changes in dexterity and function.

OBJECTIVE

1) To characterize arm and hand function in DCM; and 2) To develop and validate Graded Redefined Assessment of Strength, Sensibility, and Prehension Version-Myelopathy (GRASSP-M), a clinical assessment that quantifies upper limb impairment.

METHODS

A total of 148 DCM patients (categorized into mild, moderate, and severe based on mJOA grade) and 21 healthy subjects were enrolled. A complete neurological exam, the mJOA, the QuickDASH, grip dynamometry, and the GRASSP-M were administered.

RESULTS

Strength, sensation, and manual dexterity significantly declined with increasing DCM severity (P ≤ .05). Impairment in hand dexterity showed better discrimination between mild, moderate, and severe DCM categories than strength or sensation. The GRASSP-M was found to be both a reliable (intraclass correlation coefficient >0.75 for intra- and inter-rater reliability) and valid (with both concurrent and construct validity) tool.

CONCLUSION

These results demonstrate that patients' subjective reporting of functional status, especially in the mild DCM category, may underrepresent the extent of functional impairment. The GRASSP-M is an objective tool designed to characterize patients' functional impairment related to the upper limb, which proves useful to diagnose and quantify mild dysfunction, monitor patients for deterioration, and help determine when patients should be treated surgically.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) involves spinal cord compression, which causes neurological decline. Neurological impairment in DCM is variable and can involve complex upper limb dysfunction including loss of manual dexterity, hyperreflexia, focal weakness, and sensory impairment. The modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score relies on the patients' subjective perceptions, whereas existing objective measures such as strength and sensory testing do not capture subtle changes in dexterity and function.

OBJECTIVE

1) To characterize arm and hand function in DCM; and 2) To develop and validate Graded Redefined Assessment of Strength, Sensibility, and Prehension Version-Myelopathy (GRASSP-M), a clinical assessment that quantifies upper limb impairment.

METHODS

A total of 148 DCM patients (categorized into mild, moderate, and severe based on mJOA grade) and 21 healthy subjects were enrolled. A complete neurological exam, the mJOA, the QuickDASH, grip dynamometry, and the GRASSP-M were administered.

RESULTS

Strength, sensation, and manual dexterity significantly declined with increasing DCM severity (P ≤ .05). Impairment in hand dexterity showed better discrimination between mild, moderate, and severe DCM categories than strength or sensation. The GRASSP-M was found to be both a reliable (intraclass correlation coefficient >0.75 for intra- and inter-rater reliability) and valid (with both concurrent and construct validity) tool.

CONCLUSION

These results demonstrate that patients' subjective reporting of functional status, especially in the mild DCM category, may underrepresent the extent of functional impairment. The GRASSP-M is an objective tool designed to characterize patients' functional impairment related to the upper limb, which proves useful to diagnose and quantify mild dysfunction, monitor patients for deterioration, and help determine when patients should be treated surgically.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Surgery
Health Sciences > Neurology (clinical)
Language:English
Date:1 March 2020
Deposited On:15 Jan 2020 13:42
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:38
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0148-396X
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyz499
PubMed ID:31792501

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