COSMIN database

Evaluation of upper extremity motor function tests in tetraplegics

van Tuijl, J. H., Janssen-Potten, Y. J., and Seelen, H. A.
OBJECTIVE: To provide an overview of arm-hand function tests useful in tetraplegic subjects. Considerations for selection of an appropriate test are also provided.

DATA SOURCES: A Medline literature search was conducted covering the period from 1967 to March 2001. Relevant references cited in the selected papers were also considered, regardless of the year of publication.

STUDY SELECTION: This review was restricted to strength tests, functional and ADL tests. Only general tests and tests designed specifically to test tetraplegic persons written in English, or in Dutch were included in the review.

RESULTS: Information is provided on four types of strength tests, 10 general and five specific functional tests and eight ADL tests.

CONCLUSION: Many tests are available to measure upper extremity motor function in tetraplegics. Selection of a test is at first determined by the outcome value in which the investigator is interested. When the type of outcome value has been determined, the most suitable test has to be selected from the range of available tests. When two tests appear to be equally suitable, the availability of information on psychometric properties of the test when used in tetraplegic patients is a decisive factor. When information on the reliability, validity and sensitivity of a test is missing, it should be gathered before using the test.
Spinal Cord
1362-4393 (Print)
Publication year:
Functional status:
Physical functioning
Adults (18-65)
Children (0-18)
Seniors (65+)
Diseases of and symptoms related to the nervous system
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
4 - Performance-based tests
6 - Clinical rating scales
7 - Observations
9 - Laboratory tests
ARAT - Action Research Arm Test   
BBT - Box and Block Test
COT - Common Object Test
CUE - Capabilities of Upper Extremity instrument
FIM - Functional Independence Measure (Also modified version exists)
GRT - quantitative hand Grasp and Release Test
HHD - Hand-Held Dynamometer (Hand-held dynamometry with pulley force sensor)   
iv-BI - Dutch interview version of the Barthel Index
JTHFT - Jebsen Taylor Hand Function Test (versions: MJTHFT) [alias: JTT]   
MBI - Modified Barthel Index
MIE digital pinch/grip analyser
MMT - Manual muscle testing
MRMT - Minnesota Rate of Manipulation Test
NHPT - Nine-Hole Peg Test   
PCE - Physical Capacities Evaluation of Hand Skill
PPBT - Purdue Pegboard Test
QIF - Quadriplegia Index of Function
RLAH - Ranchos Los Amigos Hospital Functional Activities test/System
SCIM - Spinal Cord Independence Measure
SHT - Sollerman Hand Function Test (alias SHFT)
Smith hand function evaluation
SOT - Standardized Object Test
Thorson's functional test
UEFT - Upper Extremity Function Test
VandenBerge hand and arm function test
VFM - Valutazione Funzionale Mielolesi