Measurement Characteristics and Clinical Utility of the Van Lieshout Test-Short Version Among Persons With Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

      Researchers need a reliable and valid method of assessing arm and hand function in individuals who have sustained a cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). The Van Lieshout Hand Function Test for Tetraplegia-Short Version (VLT-SV) reduces administrative burden when testing components of hand function such as positioning and stabilizing the arms, development of the opening and closing of the “function hand,” grasp and release, and manipulation using the thumb and fingers.1 The test contains 10 of the original 19 tasks and decreases the administration time from 60 to 90 minutes down to 25 to 35 minutes.1 The 10 items are scored from 0 (worst function) to 5 (best function), and the sum of these scores measures the most functional hand’s ability to perform basic activities.1 Rasch analysis suggests rescoring certain items to better equate related items, with a maximum score of 3 per item.2 A training course can be purchased through the instrument’s website along with required items.1 The instrument has excellent test-retest reliability (0.90), internal consistency (0.88-0.95), inter-rater reliability (0.98-0.99), and excellent construct validity with the original VLT (0.90-0.93).1. 3. SCI-EDGE, a taskforce of the Neurology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association that uses the Evidence Database to Guide Effectiveness, recommends the VLT-SV for use in intervention research studies in populations with cervical SCI. With the potential to reduce administration time by more than an hour,1 the VLT-SV is a reliable and valid option for researchers to accurately assess important aspects of hand function.
      This abbreviated summary provides a review of the psychometric properties of the Van Lieshout Test-Short Version (VLT-SV) in cervical spinal cord injury populations. A full review of the VLT-SV and reviews of more than 460 other instruments for patients with various health conditions can be found at:
      Please address correspondence to [email protected] .
      This instrument summary is designed to facilitate the selection of outcome measures by clinicians. The information contained in this summary represents a sample of the peer-reviewed research available at the time of this summary’s publication. The information contained in this summary does not constitute an endorsement of this instrument for clinical practice. The views expressed are those of the summary authors and do not represent those of authors’ employers, instrument owner(s), the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Rehabilitation Measures Database, or the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The information contained in this summary has not been reviewed externally.
      The Rehabilitation Measures Database and Instrument Summary Tear-sheets were initially funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), Administration for Community Living, United States Department of Health and Human Services, through the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Improving Measurement of Medical Rehabilitation Outcomes (H133B090024). Current funding for the Rehabilitation Measures Database comes from the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, the first-ever “translational” research hospital where clinicians, scientists, innovators and technologists work together in the same space, applying research in real time to physical medicine and rehabilitation.
      • 1.
        Post MW, Van Lieshout G, Seelen HA, Snoek GJ, Ijzerman MJ, Pons C. Measurement properties of the short version of the Van Lieshout test for arm/hand function of persons with tetraplegia after spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord 2006;44:763-71.
      • 2.
        Spooren AI, Arnould C, Smeets RJ, Bongers HM, Seelen HA. Improvement of the Van Lieshout hand function test for tetraplegia using a Rasch analysis. Spinal Cord 2013;51:739-44.
      • 3.
        Berardi A, Biondillo A, Màrquez MA, et al. Validation of the short version of the Van Lieshout Test in an Italian population with cervical spinal cord injuries: a cross-sectional study. Spinal Cord 2019;57:339-45.