Assessment of the upper limb of the tetraplegic patient
Moiziard, V., Lansaman, T., Mauruc Soubirac, E., Revol, M., Coulet, B., Hugeron, C., Gelis, A., and Laffont, I.
The aim of our study is to describe the assessment of the upper limb in tetraplegic patients to follow his (her) neurological progression and to define the medical or surgical treatment program. We selected upper limb assessment tools and scales for tetraplegic patients described in the medical literature through a PubMed search over the last four decades. For each method, we present the implementation rules and its metrological properties, including its validity in French. We selected five clinical scales for functional evaluation of grasping, as well as four scales for evaluating the overall function of these patients. Finally, we identified three complementary precision assessment tools. The AIS (ASIA Impairment Scale) classification describes the level and the severity of the spinal cord lesion. The Giens classification is more practical for describing the upper limb in middle and low tetraplegia. Impairments can be assessed with most common generic scales and nonspecific measurement devices: range of motion, strength, sensory loss, spasticity, joint pain. Measurement of pinch and grip strength is widely used and easy to perform. The Capabilities of Upper Extremity (CUE) and the Jebsen Taylor Test are the best validated and usable scales. At a general functional level, the Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM) is the most relevant scale in these patients. Motor nerve blocks, electromyography, movement analysis and echography are promising additional methods. Assessment of the upper limb of tetraplegic patients relies both on generic and specific assessment tools and scales.