Background: For children with cerebral palsy (CP) who are able to walk or run, the 10-m shuttle run test is currently the test of choice to assess cardiorespiratory fitness. This test, however, has not yet been examined in wheelchair-using youth with CP.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the test-retest reproducibility and validity of the 10-m shuttle ride test (SRiT) in youth with CP.
Design: Repeated measurements of the SRiT were obtained.
Methods: Twenty-three individuals with spastic CP (18 boys, 5 girls; mean age=13.3 years, SD=3.6 years) using a manual wheelchair for at least part of the day participated in this study. During the study, all participants performed one graded arm exercise test (GAET) and 2 identical SRiTs within 2 weeks. Peak oxygen uptake (Vo2peak), peak heart rate (HRpeak), and respiratory exchange ratio (RER) were recorded. Intraclass correlation coefficients (2,1), the smallest detectable difference, and the limits of agreement (LOA) were calculated. The association between the results of the SRiT and GAET was tested using Pearson correlation coefficients.
Results: Intraclass correlation coefficients (.99, 95% confidence interval=.98-1.00) for all variables indicated highly acceptable reproducibility. The LOA analysis revealed satisfactory levels of agreement. The SRiT variables demonstrated strong, significant positive correlations for Vo2peak values obtained during the SRiT and the GAET (r=.84, P<.01).
Limitations: Although the GAET is considered the gold standard, the cardiorespiratory demand during the GAET was significantly lower compared with during the SRiT. Future studies should determine whether the GAET can still be accepted as the gold standard for upper-extremity exercise.
Conclusions: The SRiT is a reproducible and valid test for measuring cardiorespiratory fitness in youth with spastic CP who self-propel a manual wheelchair.