The Chelsea critical care physical assessment tool (CPAx): validation of an innovative new tool to measure physical morbidity in the general adult critical care population; an observational proof-of-concept pilot study

Physiotherapy. 2013 Mar;99(1):33-41. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Mar 30.


Objective: To develop a scoring system to measure physical morbidity in critical care - the Chelsea Critical Care Physical Assessment Tool (CPAx).

Method: The development process was iterative involving content validity indices (CVI), a focus group and an observational study of 33 patients to test construct validity against the Medical Research Council score for muscle strength, peak cough flow, Australian Therapy Outcome Measures score, Glasgow Coma Scale score, Bloomsbury sedation score, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score, Short Form 36 (SF-36) score, days of mechanical ventilation and inter-rater reliability.

Participants: Trauma and general critical care patients from two London teaching hospitals.

Results: Users of the CPAx felt that it possessed content validity, giving a final CVI of 1.00 (P<0.05). Construct validation data showed moderate to strong significant correlations between the CPAx score and all secondary measures, apart from the mental component of the SF-36 which demonstrated weak correlation with the CPAx score (r=0.024, P=0.720). Reliability testing showed internal consistency of α=0.798 and inter-rater reliability of κ=0.988 (95% confidence interval 0.791 to 1.000) between five raters.

Conclusion: This pilot work supports proof of concept of the CPAx as a measure of physical morbidity in the critical care population, and is a cogent argument for further investigation of the scoring system.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Cough
  • Critical Care*
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Multiple Organ Failure / diagnosis
  • Muscle Strength
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Posture
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiration, Artificial