Activity limitations in patients with neuromuscular disorders

by Vandervelde, Laure

Abstract (Summary)
Assessment in patients with NMD consists principally of measures of motor impairment since they are well known by clinicians and their measures do not require much equipment. The conventional treatments in patients with NMD are above-all focused on the diminution of motor impairments by maintaining or improving joint mobility, muscle strength and endurance. Nevertheless, a reduction of motor impairments does not directly lead to a higher ability in performing daily activities. Therefore, activity limitations should be measured specifically. A new scale of activity limitations was first developed in children and adults with NMD. The use of the Rasch model provided a scale to assess the fundamental psychometric qualities. Secondly, relationships between motor impairments and activity limitations were investigated to verify the assumption that reduced motor impairments do not necessarily lead to higher activity levels. Finally, to complete the investigation of psychometric qualities, a longitudinal study of the developed questionnaire was carried out to evaluate its sensitivity to change. Chapter 1 presents the development of ACTIVLIM, a Rasch-built measure of activity limitations and its validation in children and adults with NMD. ACTIVLIM is a self-reported questionnaire that assesses the difficulties adult patients and parents of affected children perceive when they or their children perform daily activities. This questionnaire originally included 126 daily activities and was submitted to 369 patients. The Rasch model selected 22 daily activities to define a linear and unidimensional measure of activity limitations in patients with NMD. The validity and the reproducibility of the results were also studied. A second section of Chapter 1 demonstrates why the measure of activity limitations in children with NMD as assessed using the ACTIVLIM questionnaire is based upon the perception of their parents. A third section of Chapter 1 compares the difficulties self-perceived by the patients with the difficulties observed by external examiners. The agreement between both measures is very good, indicating that the use of ACTIVLIM as a self-reporting questionnaire is a valid method to assess activity limitations in patients with NMD. Chapter 2 investigates the relationships between motor impairments and activity limitations as measured with the ACTIVLIM questionnaire. As the anatomical basis and pathophysiology are different from one NMD to another, the relationships between impairments and activity limitations were investigated in six main diagnostic groups and in the whole sample without diagnostic distinction. Gait speed and muscle weakness in proximal and flexor muscle groups were significantly but moderately correlated to the activity limitations, indicating that the latter cannot simply be inferred from motor impairments but should be independently measured and treated. Chapter 3 investigates the sensitivity to change of the ACTIVLIM questionnaire. As NMD are progressive disorders, it is important that the ACTIVLIM questionnaire be able to assess the change over time in the activity level of patients with NMD in order to characterize the disease course and to quantify the effects of new treatments on activity limitations in these patients. Finally, the last section discusses the results of the different chapters and presents perspectives for future research.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Université catholique de Louvain

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:limitations d activité motor impairments neuromuscular disorders outcome measurement activity maladies neuromusculaires qualités psychométriques outil évaluation psychometric qualities déficiences motrices


Date of Publication:05/19/2008

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