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Feasibility and reliability of functional muscle tests in lung transplant recipients.

Kienbacher, Thomas; Achim-Gunacker, Grace; Pachner, Melanie; Kerschan-Schindl, Katharina; Gunacker, Patrik; Habenicht, Richard; Klepetko, Walter; Jaksch, Peter; Doblhammer, Stephan; Ebenbichler, Gerold
American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: Post Acceptance: October 10, 2017
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000849
Research Article: PDF Only

Objective: This study investigates the feasibility, reliability, and correlations of recommended functional tests in lung transplant recipients shortly after surgery.

Design: Observational study

Methods: 50 patients (28 females) performed well standardized maximum isometric back extension in a sitting position, hand grip strength, and Biering-Sorensen endurance tests shortly before discharge from the acute hospital, shortly thereafter, and two months later following subacute rehabilitation.

Results: Back extension testing was well feasible but only two thirds of the patients could perform the Biering-Sorensen test at baseline and they experienced a greater number of minor but no major adverse events. Absolute reliability measures and the intraclass-correlation-coefficients were excellent for the strength [0.97 - 0.98 (0.95 - 0.99)] and good for the endurance tests [0.69 (0.26 - 0.87)]. Hand grip revealed high correlation with back strength (>=0.75) but not with Biering-Sorensen scores.

Conclusion: Well controlled maximum back strength testing is feasible, reliable, and the scores are highly correlated with grip strength in lung transplant recipients shortly before hospital discharge. The Biering-Sorensen test should be limited to patients without dominant weakness and/or fear. Future research should investigate if grip instead of back extension strength can safely be used for proper exercise prescription.

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