Test-Retest Reliability and Agreement of Single Pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Measuring Activity in Motor Cortex in Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke

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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is often used to examine neurophysiology. We aimed to investigate the inter-rater reliability and agreement of single pulse TMS in hospitalised acute ischemic stroke patients.
Thirty-one patients with first-time acute ischemic stroke (median age 72 (IQR 64-75), 35% females) underwent TMS motor threshold (MT) assessment in 4 muscles bilaterally, conducted by 1 of 2 physiotherapists. Test-retest reliability was evaluated using a two-way random effects model (2,1) absolute agreement-type Interclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC). Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) and Smallest Detectable Change (SDC) were used to evaluate agreement.
Reliability, SEM, and SDC of TMS was found to be moderate in right opponens pollicis (0.78 [CI 95% 0.55-0.89], SEM: 4.51, SDC: 12.51), good in right vastus medialis and tibial anterior (0.88 [CI 95% 0.72-0.96], SEM: 2.89, SDC: 8.01 and 0.88 [CI 95% 0.76-0.94], SEM: 2.88, SDC: 7.98 respectively), and excellent in right and left biceps brachii (0.98 [CI 95% 0.96-0.99], SEM: 1.79 SDC: 4.96, and 0.94 [CI 95% 0.89-0.97], SEM: 2.17 SDC: 6.01), opponens pollicis (0.92 [CI 95% 0.83-0.96], SEM: 2.68 SDC: 8.26, vastus medialis (0.92 [CI 95% 0.84-0.96], SEM: 2.87 SDC: 7.95), and tibial anterior (0.93 [CI 95% 0.86-0.96], SEM: 2.51 SDC: 6.95).
The TMS demonstrated moderate to excellent inter-rater reliability confirming the ability of these measures to reliably discriminate between individuals in the current study sample. Improvements of less than 4.96 to 12.51 could be a result of measurement error and may therefore not be considered a true change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroscience Insights
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 357425438