Lewis Ingram – Abstract

P32      The Upper Limb Physiological Profile Assessment (PPA): description and reliability

Ingram LI[1, 2], Butler AA[1, 2], Lord SR[1, 2], and Gandevia SC[1, 2].

  1. Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
  2. University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

A progressive decline in upper limb function is associated with ageing and disease. A means of quantifying an individual’s upper limb motor impairments offers the potential to complement the contemporary  ‘disease-based/medical’ model in providing a precise measurement of overall upper limb function that could be used to guide and evaluate interventions [1]. Here we propose the upper limb physiological profile assessment (PPA), a battery of 14 tests to quantitatively assess the performance of the multiple physiological subsystems that are essential for adequate upper limb function. We provide a brief description and report the test-retest reliability across the healthy adult lifespan for each test.

Thirty participants (15 males) were recruited and classified by age into one of three groups: 20–29, 30–59, and 60 years and over. Participants performed each of the 14 upper limb PPA tests (muscle strength, unilateral movement and dexterity, position sense, skin sensation, bimanual coordination, arm stability and upper limb functional tasks) on two separate occasions approximately one week apart. Intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) were computed for each test.

Approximately half of the tests had excellent reliability (ICCs > 0.75; CV of 1.2% to 25.1%), while the remaining tests had fair-to-good reliability (ICCs 0.40 to 0.75; CV of 3.3% to 32.7%).

The upper limb PPA tests appear to be sufficiently reliable to screen for motor impairment in clinical groups with compromised upper limb function and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.

  1. Lord SR, Menz HB, Tiedemann A. A physiological profile approach to falls risk assessment and prevention. Phys Ther. 2003;83;237–252.