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The reliability of assessment of vibration sense

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Peters EW, Bienfait HME, de Visser M, de Haan RJ. The reliability of assessment of vibration sense.

Acta Neurol Scand 2003: 107: 293–298. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2003.

Objectives –To assess the reliability of quantitative assessment of vibration sense with a Vibrameter type III.

Material and methods –We examined 111 healthy subjects (21–69 years). For intraobserver reliability, short-term (15 min between measurements) (n=11) and 24-h (n=28) reliability was tested. For interobserver reliability, a second tester performed the second measurement 15 min after the initial test (n=39). We also assessed the independent impact of effects of age, gender and height on vibration thresholds.

Results –In our study the intraobserver reliability is good [intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) ranging from 0.55 to 0.99], whereas the interobserver reliability is moderate (ICC ranging from 0.32 to 0.88). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that age and – to a lesser extent height was independently associated with the threshold values of the feet, but not with the thresholds of the hands.

Conclusion –The use of a Vibrameter for measuring vibration thresholds in clinical practice and in multicentre studies is restricted because of the moderate interobserver reliability.

Keywords: healthy subjects; interobserver; intraobserver; reliability; vibration threshold

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Neurology; 2: Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: April 1, 2003


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