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Validation of a novel cone tool for pinprick sensation examination in patients with spinal cord injury

Abstract

Study Design

Psychometrics study.

Objective

The objective of this study was to introduce a novel tool for pinprick sensation examination and validate its usefulness in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Setting

China Rehabilitation Research Center, Capital Medical University School of Rehabilitation Medicine, China.

Methods

A set of cone tools with different tapers (22.5°, 45°, 67.5°, 90°, 112.5°, 135°, 157.5°, and 180°) was made. The cone tool was validated first in 91 able-bodied individuals and then in 30 patients with SCI. The reliability and validity of the cone tool were analyzed by comparing the results of a pinprick sensation examination with the results of the International Standards for the Neurological Classification of SCI (ISNCSCI), the cone tool, and the thermal analyzer.

Results

The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of the cone tool in able-bodied individuals was between 0.48 and 0.94 while that of the cone tool and the ISNCSCI tool ranged between 0.43 and 0.78. Pinprick sensation in patients with SCI can be graded into five levels using four tapers (22.5°, 45°, 67.5°, and 90°): normal, slight impairment, moderate impairment, severe impairment, and complete loss of sensation.

Conclusion

This easy-to-use cone tool can produce a reliable semi-quantitative pinprick test result and is useful for pinprick sensation examination in patients with SCI.

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Acknowledgements

We appreciate the assistance of all participants.

Funding

This study was supported by grants from China Rehabilitation Research Center (NO. 2015CZ-17).

Author information

JL was responsible for designing and writing the study protocol and interpreting the results. GL and HZ were responsible for collecting data and writing the paper. YZ, CH, YZ and BW were responsible for creating “summary of findings” tables and figures. YW, HK and XL were responsible for extracting and analysing data.

Correspondence to Jianjun Li.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of ethics

Our study was approved by the ethics committee of Capital Medical University School of Rehabilitation Medicine. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants.

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