Functional, motor, and sensory assessment instruments upon nerve repair in adult hands: systematic review of psychometric properties
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BACKGROUND: Outcome after nerve repair of the hand needs standardized psychometrically robust measures. We aimed to systematically review the psychometric properties of available functional, motor, and sensory assessment instruments after nerve repair. METHODS: This systematic review of health measurement instruments searched databases from 1966 to 2017. Pairs of raters conducted data extraction and quality assessment using a structured tool for clinical measurement studies. Kappa correlation was used to define the agreement prior to consensus for individual items, and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to assess reliability between raters. A narrative synthesis described quality and content of the evidence. RESULTS: Sixteen studies were included for final critical appraisal scores. Kappa ranged from 0.31 to 0.82 and ICC was 0.81. Motor domain had manual muscle testing with Kappa from 0.72 to 0.93 and a dynamometer ICC reliability between 0.92 and 0.98. Sensory domain had touch threshold Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments (SWM) as the most responsive measure while two-point discrimination (2PD) was the least responsive (effect size 1.2 and 0.1). A stereognosis test, Shape and Texture Identification (STI), had Kappa test-retest reliability of 0.79 and inter-rater reliability of 0.61, with excellent sensibility and specificity. Manual tactile test had moderate to mild correlation with 2PD and SWM. Function domain presented Rosén-Lundborg score with Spearman correlations of 0.83 for total score. Patient-reported outcomes measurements had ICC of 0.85 and internal consistency from 0.88 to 0.96 with Patient-Rated Wrist and Hand Evaluation with higher score for reliability and Spearman correlation between 0.38 and 0.89 for validity. CONCLUSIONS: Few studies included nerve repair in their sample for the psychometric analysis of outcome measures, so moderate evidence could be confirmed. Manual muscle test and Rotterdam Intrinsic Hand Myometer dynamometer had excellent reliability but insufficient data on validity or responsiveness. Touch threshold testing was more responsive than 2PD test. The locognosia test and STI had limited but positive supporting data related to validity. Rosén-Lundborg score had emerging evidence of reliability and validity as a comprehensive outcome following nerve repair. Few questionnaires were considered reliable and valid to assess cold intolerance. There is no patient-reported outcome measurement following nerve repair that provides comprehensive assessment of symptoms and function by patient perspective.
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