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Spinal Cord. 2018 Apr;56(4):347-354. doi: 10.1038/s41393-017-0046-y. Epub 2017 Dec 28.

Sensitivity and specificity of the 'knee-up test' for estimation of the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale in patients with acute motor incomplete cervical spinal cord injury.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Spinal Injuries Centre, Iizuka, Fukuoka, Japan.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Spinal Injuries Centre, Iizuka, Fukuoka, Japan.



A retrospective study.


Precise classification of the neurological state of patients with acute cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI) can be challenging. This study proposed a useful and simple clinical method to help classify patients with incomplete CSCI.


Spinal Injuries Centre, Japan.


The sensitivity and specificity of the 'knee-up test' were evaluated in patients with acute CSCI classified as American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) C or D. The result is positive if the patient can lift the knee in one or both legs to an upright position, whereas the result is negative if the patient is unable to lift the knee in either leg to an upright position. The AIS of these patients was classified according to a strict computerised algorithm designed by Walden et al., and the knee-up test was tested by non-expert examiners.


Among the 200 patients, 95 and 105 were classified as AIS C and AIS D, respectively. Overall, 126 and 74 patients demonstrated positive and negative results, respectively, when evaluated using the knee-up test. A total of 104 patients with positive results and 73 patients with negative results were classified as AIS D and AIS C, respectively. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive and negative predictive values of this test for all patients were 99.1, 76.8, 82.5 and 98.7, respectively.


The knee-up test may allow easy and highly accurate estimation, without the need for special skills, of AIS classification for patients with incomplete CSCI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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