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J Rehabil Med. 2008 Aug;40(8):665-71. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0235.

Reliability and validity of the Medical Research Council (MRC) scale and a modified scale for testing muscle strength in patients with radial palsy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. tatjana.paternostro-sluga@akhwien.at

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the inter-rater and intra-rater reliability and validity of the original and a modified Medical Research Council scale for testing muscle strength in radial palsy.

DESIGN:

Prospective, randomized validation study.

PATIENTS:

Thirty-one patients with peripheral paresis of radial innervated forearm muscles were included.

METHODS:

Wrist extension, finger extension and grip strength were evaluated by manual muscle testing. Dynamometric measurement of grip strength was performed. Pair-wise weighted kappa coefficients were calculated to determine inter-rater and intra-rater reliability. The 2 scores were compared using the signed-rank test. Spearman's correlation coefficients of the maximal relative force measurements with the median (over-raters) Medical Research Council and modified Medical Research Council scores were calculated to determine validity.

RESULTS:

Inter-rater agreement of the Medical Research Council scale (finger extension: 0.77; wrist extension: 0.78; grip strength: 0.78) and the modified Medical Research Council scale (finger extension: 0.81; wrist extension: 0.78; grip strength: 0.81) as well as intra-rater agreement of the Medical Research Council scale (finger extension: 0.86; wrist extension: 0.82; grip strength: 0.84) and the modified Medical Research Council scale (finger extension: 0.84, wrist extension: 0.81; grip strength: 0.88) showed almost perfect agreement. Spearman's correlation coefficients of the maximal relative force measurements with the median Medical Research Council and modified Medical Research Council score were both 0.78.

CONCLUSION:

Medical Research Council and modified Medical Research Council scales are measurements with substantial inter-rater and intra-rater reliability in evaluating forearm muscles.

PMID:
19020701
DOI:
10.2340/16501977-0235
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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