Isokinetic Robotic Device to Improve Test-Retest and Inter-Rater Reliability for Stretch Reflex Measurements in Stroke Patients With Spasticity

J Vis Exp. 2019 Jun 12;(148). doi: 10.3791/59814.


Measuring spasticity is important in treatment planning and determining efficacy after treatment. However, the current tool used in clinical settings has been shown to be limited in inter-rater reliability. One factor in this poor inter-rater reliability is the variability of passive motion while measuring the angle of catch (AoC) measurements. Therefore, an isokinetic device has been proposed to standardize the manual joint motion; however, the benefits of isokinetic motion for AoC measurements has not been tested in a standardized manner. This protocol investigates whether isokinetic motion itself can improve inter-rater reliability for AoC measurements. For this purpose, a robotic isokinetic device was developed that is combined with surface electromyography (EMG). Two conditions, manual and isokinetic motions, are compared with the standardized method to measure the angle and subjective feeling of catch. It is shown that in 17 stroke patients with mild elbow flexor spasticity, isokinetic motion improved the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for inter-rater reliability of AoC measurements to 0.890 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.685-0.961] by the EMG criteria, and 0.931 (95% CI: 0.791-0.978) by the torque criteria, from 0.788 (95% CI: 0.493-0.920) by manual motion. In conclusion, isokinetic motion itself can improve inter-rater reliability of AoC measurements in stroke patients with mild spasticity. Given that this system may provide greater standardized angle measurements and catch of feeling, it may be a good option for the evaluation of spasticity in a clinical setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology*
  • Muscle Spasticity / therapy
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reflex, Stretch / physiology*
  • Robotics / methods*
  • Stroke / pathology
  • Stroke / therapy*