Analysis of health-related quality of life and muscle impairment in individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis using the medical outcome survey and the Tufts Quantitative Neuromuscular Exam

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1998 Jul;79(7):855-62. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(98)90370-7.


Objective: The Tufts Quantitative Neuromuscular Exam (TQNE) is commonly used to assess the rate of disease progression in individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The Medical Outcome Study Short Form (SF-36) is a general method to assess health-related quality of life (HRQL). This study examined the relationship between the TQNE and SF-36, established the reliability and responsiveness of each, and contrasted the HRQL between individuals with ALS and the general population.

Design: Subjects (31) completed the SF-36 and TQNE within 1 week to determine reliability. Subjects (17) also completed both the TQNE and SF-36 each month for 1 year after diagnosis of ALS to establish the relationship between the two assessment tools.

Setting: A primary care university teaching hospital.

Patients: Thirty-one subjects with an age range of 27 to 76 years (mean 59.1, SD 10.32), recently diagnosed with ALS.

Results: Each test was highly reliable and responsive. The intraclass correlations (2, 1) were consistently higher for the TQNE (.93 to .98) than for the SF-36 (.57 to .90). Changes in physical function were correlated to changes in lower extremity force megascores (.48).

Conclusion: Both the TQNE and the SF-36 are reliable and responsive and appear important in characterization of patient status after ALS is diagnosed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / rehabilitation*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination*
  • Quality of Life*