Volume 44 Number 4 2007
Pages 619 — 628

Abstract - Reliability of RT3 accelerometer for measuring mobility in people with multiple sclerosis: Pilot study

Leigh Hale, PhD;* Kimberly Williams; Craig Ashton; Tim Connole; Hayley McDowell; Colleen Taylor

Centre for Physiotherapy Research, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Abstract — This pilot study investigated the test-retest reliability of an RT3 accelerometer (RT3) for measuring motion in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Ten people with MS (mean age 49 yr; Extended Disability Status Scale mean +/- standard deviation = 3.4 +/- 1.3) and ten nondisabled people (mean age 40 yr) wore the RT3 while they performed three discrete mobility tasks on two occasions separated by 1 week. The intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) calculated from the RT3 motion data for the group with MS were 0.64 for the 5-minute walk test (p = 0.01), 0.50 for the timed up and go test (p = 0.05), and 0.76 for the stair-climbing task (p = 0.002). For the control group, these values were 0.65 (p = 0.01), -0.04 (p = 0.54), and 0.39 (p = 0.11), respectively. We found that the RT3 can potentially provide stable data when measuring walking, but a more robust, yet participant-friendly, method of attaching the RT3 is required. Both participant groups demonstrated inconsistencies in motor-task performance, highlighting a potential source of measurement error that would need to be addressed when future studies are designed. Based on the results of the 5-minute walk test in this study, a sample of 53 participants would be required to obtain an ICC value with a 95% confidence interval of width 0.2 using two repeat measurements.

Key words: 5-minute walk test, accelerometer, mobility, multiple sclerosis, rehabilitation, reliability, RT3, stair-climbing task, test-retest reliability, timed up and go test.

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