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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2022 August;58(4):549-57

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.22.07378-6


language: English

Intra-rater and inter-rater reliability of pressure pain threshold assessment in stroke patients

Yong-Hui ZHANG 1, Yu-Chen WANG 1, Gong-Wei HU 2, Xiao-Qin DING 2, Xiao-Hua SHEN 2, Hui YANG 2, Ji-Feng RONG 2, Xue-Qiang WANG 1, 3

1 Department of Sport Rehabilitation, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China; 2 The Center of Rehabilitation Therapy, The First Rehabilitation Hospital of Shanghai, Shanghai, China; 3 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Shanghai Shangti Orthopedic Hospital, Shanghai, China

BACKGROUND: As pain is a common symptom following a stroke, pressure pain threshold (PPT) assessment can be used to evaluate pain status or pain sensitivity of patients. However, the reliability of PPT test in stroke patients is still unknown.
AIM: To examine the intra- and inter-rater reliability of PPT measurements in poststroke survivors and explore their factors.
DESIGN: An observational study.
SETTING: The setting of the study is a rehabilitation hospital.
POPULATION: The population of the study was represented by a total of 54 patients after stroke.
METHODS: The study included 16 measured points on the affected and unaffected sides. PPT was assessed by two raters in turn. Intra- and inter-rater reliability was evaluated by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC).
RESULTS: All intra-rater (ICC=0.84-0.97) and inter-rater (ICC=0.83-0.95) reliability for PPT assessment were good or excellent in stroke patients. Of the 16 points, 12 showed higher intra-rater ICC values than inter-rater, whereas no evident difference was observed between the affected and unaffected sides. Furthermore, patients who were male, ischemic, or with higher motor function generally performed higher ICC values than those who were female (24 out of 32 results), hemorrhagic (28 out of 32 results), or mobility dysfunction (26 out of 32 results), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: PPT assessment with good or excellent reliability can be used in stroke patients. Neither of the two sides (affected or unaffected) affects PPT reliability, and intra-rater reliability is better than inter-rater reliability. In addition, gender, stroke type, and motor function can affect the reliability of measuring mechanical pain threshold in poststroke survivors.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The pressure algometer can be used as a reliable and portable tool to assess the mechanical pain tolerance and sensory function in stroke patients in clinics.

KEY WORDS: Pain threshold; Stroke; Reproducibility of results

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