Objectives: To design a submaximal arm ergometry test (six-minute arm test [6-MAT]), for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) and to determine the test-retest reliability and concurrent validity of this test.
Design: Prospective, exploratory, methodologic study. To determine test-retest reliability, subjects completed the 6-MAT on 2 days, separated by 1 week. Validity was determined by comparing 6-MAT results with peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak).
Setting: Tertiary rehabilitation center.
Participants: Thirty subjects with SCI (mean age, 36.3y; 83% male).
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: Subjects were evaluated on the 6-MAT and a VO2peak test.
Results: All subjects were able to complete the 6-MAT. Test-retest reliability of steady-state oxygen consumption (VO2) and heart rate during the 6-MAT were excellent (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC], .81; 95% confidence interval [CI], .58-.92; ICC=.90; 95% CI, .75-.96, respectively). The correlation between VO2peak and 6-MAT VO2 was excellent (r=.92) and the correlations between VO2peak and 6-MAT heart rate (r=.63) and VO2peak and 6-MAT power output (r=.73) were good.
Conclusions: This study showed that the 6-MAT has acceptable values for test-retest reliability and validity. The 6-MAT should be further tested for responsiveness to enhance its use as a clinical tool.