Excellent test-retest and inter-rater reliability for Tardieu Scale measurements with inertial sensors in elbow flexors of stroke patients

Gait Posture. 2011 Feb;33(2):185-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2010.10.094. Epub 2010 Dec 4.


Background: Spasticity is often clinically assessed with the Tardieu Scale, using goniometry to measure the range of motion and angle of catch. However, the test-retest and inter-rater reliability of these measurements have been questioned. Inertial sensors (IS) have been developed to measure orientation in space and are suggested to be a more appropriate tool than goniometry to measure angles in Tardieu Scale measurements.

Objective: To compare the test-retest and inter-rater reliability of Tardieu Scale scores measured with IS and goniometry.

Methods: Two physiotherapists performed Tardieu Scale measurements in two sessions, using both goniometry and IS, to quantify spasticity in elbow flexors of 13 stroke patients.

Results: For goniometry, test-retest and inter-rater reliability proved to be excellent (ICC 0.86) and fair to good (ICC 0.66), respectively. For IS, both test-retest (ICC 0.76) and inter-rater reliability (ICC 0.84) were excellent.

Conclusions: Inertial sensors are reliable and accurate to use in Tardieu Scale measurements to quantify spasticity in the elbow flexors of hemiplegic stroke patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Elbow Joint / physiopathology*
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Spasticity / physiopathology*
  • Observer Variation
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Stroke / physiopathology*