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Working towards an objective segmental assessment of trunk control in children with cerebral palsy.

Sanchez Puccini, Maria and Loram, I and Holmes, P and Darby, J and Butler, P (2018) Working towards an objective segmental assessment of trunk control in children with cerebral palsy. Gait and Posture, 65. pp. 45-50. ISSN 0966-6362 (In Press)

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Abstract

Background Physical therapy evaluations of motor control are currently based on subjective clinical assessments. Despite validation, these can still be inconsistent between therapists and between clinics, compromising the process of validating a therapeutic intervention and the subsequent generation of evidence-based practice (EBP) guidelines. EBP benefits from well-defined objective measurements that complement existing subjective assessments. Research question The aim of this study was to develop an objective measure of head/trunk control in children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) using previously developed video-based methods of head/trunk alignment and absence of external support and compare these with the existing subjective Segmental Assessment of Trunk Control (SATCo). Methods Twelve children with CP were recruited and an average of 3 (±1.1) SATCo tests performed per child. The full SATCo was concurrently video-recorded from a sagittal view; markers were placed on specific landmarks of the head, trunk and pelvis to track and estimate head/trunk segment position. A simplified objective rule was created for control and used on videos showing no external support. This replicated the clinical parameters and enabled identification of the segmental-loss-of-control. The subjectively and objectively identified segmental-loss-of-control were compared using a Pearson Correlation Coefficient. Results An angular-threshold of 17° from alignment showed the minimum bias between the subjectively and the objectively measured segmental-loss-of-control (mean error =−0.11 and RMSE = 1.5) and a significant correlation (r = 0.78, r2 = 0.61, p < .01). Significance This study showed that simple objective video-based measurements can be used to reconstruct the subjective assessment of segmental head/trunk control. This suggests that a clinically-friendly video-based objective measure has future potential to complement subjective assessments and to assist in the generation of EBP guidelines. Further development will increase the information that can be extracted from video images and enable generation of a fully automated objective measure.

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