The wheelchair circuit: Reliability of a test to assess mobility in persons with spinal cord injuries

Olga J. Kilkens, Marcel W. Post, Lucas H. van der Woude, Annet J. Dallmeijer, Wim J. van den Heuvel

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Objective: To assess the reliability of a 9-task wheelchair circuit.

Design: Three test trials per subject were conducted by 2 raters. Inter- and intrarater reliability were examined.

Setting: Eight rehabilitation centers in the Netherlands.

Participants: Convenience sample of 27 patients (age, greater than or equal to18y) with spinal cord injury (SCI), all of whom were in the final stage of their inpatient rehabilitation.

Intervention: A wheelchair circuit was developed to assess mobility in subjects with SCI. The circuit consisted of 9 tasks: figure-of-8 shape, doorstep crossing, mounting a platform, sprint, walking, driving up treadmill slopes of 3% and 6%, wheelchair driving and transfer.

Main Outcome Measures: Task feasibility, task performance time, and peak heart rates.

Results: The number of tasks that subjects could perform varied from 3 to 9. Feasibility intrarater reliability was .98, and the interrater reliability intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was .97. Performance time ICCs ranged from .70 to .99 (mean, .88) for intrarater reliability and from .76 to .98 (mean, .92) for interrater reliability. Heart rate ICCs ranged from .64 to .96 (mean, .81) for intrarater reliability and from .82 to .99 (mean, .89) for interrater reliability.

Conclusions: The reliability of the wheelchair circuit was good. More research is needed to assess test validity and responsiveness. (C) 2002 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1783-1788
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2002
Externally publishedYes
Event1st World Congress of the International-Society-of-Physical-and-Rehabilitation-Medicine (ISPRM I) - , Netherlands
Duration: 7-Jul-200113-Jul-2001


  • rehabilitation
  • reliability and validity
  • spinal cord injuries
  • wheelchairs
  • MEN
  • LIFE

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