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Clinical Measurement of Muscle Tone Using a Velocity-Corrected Modified Ashworth Scale

Smith, A. W. PhD; Jamshidi, M. BSc(PT), MSc; Lo, S. K. PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: March 2002 - Volume 81 - Issue 3 - p 202-206
Research Article
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Smith AW, Jamshidi M, Lo SK: Clinical measurement of muscle tone using a velocity-corrected modified Ashworth scale. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2002;81:202–206.

Objective To develop a new form of the modified Ashworth scale (MAS) for muscle-tone assessment that combines the MAS score with the passive muscle-stretching velocity during the assessment of muscle tone, resulting in a measure that has higher intertester reliability than the MAS.

Design Twenty-two volunteer subjects with spinal cord injuries at a tertiary care outpatient and inpatient spinal cord injury rehabilitation center affiliated with a university were recruited for this study.<

Results A decision tree in which V-MAS scores were obtained was developed. The data obtained from three independent raters, when adjusted by means of the V-MAS, showed an excellent interrater reliability.

Conclusion Results indicated that the V-MAS is a more reliable measure. In addition, the resulting units of the V-MAS, ranging from 0 to 1, are of the same form as pendulum test data. The V-MAS method is quite simple to use because the rater need only measure the angular range and duration of the passive movement to calculate average velocity during the MAS assessment in addition to the normal MAS rating of muscle tone.

From the School of Health Professions, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, UK (AWS), Royal Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Canada (MJ), and the Institute of International Health, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (SKL).

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Andrew W. Smith, PhD, Clinical Research Centre, School of Health Professionals, 49 Darley Road, University of Brighton, Eastbourne BN20 7UR, UK.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.