Upper limb assessment in non-ambulant patients remains a challenge. We have designed new tools to precisely assess pinch (MyoPinch), grip (MyoGrip), wrist flexion and extension (MyoWrist) strength. We have also designed a new tool to assess the ability of patients to produce repetitive flexion/extension movements of wrist and fingers (MoviPlate). We have assessed the feasibility and reliability of these new tools in 30 non-ambulant patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and in 30 age-matched male controls. Existing measures, such as Motor Function Measure, Tapping, and the Brooke Upper Extremity Functional Rating Scale were also performed. Results demonstrated that assessments were feasible in nearly all upper limbs tested for MyoGrip, MyoPinch and MoviPlate. The reliability of all tests, including MyoWrist which was not feasible in the patients presenting with contractures, was excellent in patients as in controls. Motor capacities decrease with the number of months spent in the wheelchair. The scores in the tests were partially correlated with each other, and with clinical measures such as vital capacity, Motor Function Measure, functional hand scale and Brooke score. This study validates a panel of upper limb muscle strength and function measures for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy which can be applied from controls to extremely weak patients.
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