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Open Access 08-06-2024 | Diastasis Recti | Original Article

Reliability and validity of surface EMG assessments combined with isometric muscle strength testing in patients with abdominal rectus diastasis and asymptomatic controls

Authors: E. Swedenhammar, O. Wahlström, J. D. Brandt, K. Strigård, C. Häger, B. Stark, A. Nyberg

Published in: Hernia

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Abstract

Purpose

Patients with abdominal rectus diastasis (ARD) may have muscular functional impairments, but clinics lack appropriate objective assessment tools. The aim was to establish the relative and absolute reliability, and convergent validity, of muscular activity using Surface Electromyography (SEMG) during isometric abdominal muscle strength testing in patients with ARD and controls without ARD.

Methods

Twenty-six patients with ARD were matched for age, sex and BMI with controls without ARD. Participants were tested twice during isometric muscular contractions using SEMG located on six abdominal sites. Mean amplitude, fatigue, and recruitment order were analyzed. Relative reliability was evaluated with Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICC), while absolute reliability was estimated by calculating the Standard Error of Measurement and Minimal Detectable Change. Convergent validity was addressed in relation to participant characteristics, functional ability, and symptoms.

Results

Mean SEMG amplitude for all abdominal wall muscle contractions showed moderate to excellent relative test–retest reliability, with ICC values ranging from 0.46 to 0.97. In contrast, fatigue and recruitment order displayed poor to moderate relative reliability in both groups. Absolute reliability measures were generally high. A moderate to high convergent validity (ARD: rho-value 0.41–0.70; Controls: rho-value 0.41–0.75) was observed for mean amplitude in relation to a functional sit-to-stand test, abdominal circumference, BMI, back pain, and quality-of-life.

Conclusions

The results of applying SEMG during isometric abdominal muscle support practicing the method in clinics, although additional development is needed with further standardization and more functional testing. Furthermore, the method demonstrates construct validity in patients with ARD and in age- and sex-matched controls.
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Metadata
Title
Reliability and validity of surface EMG assessments combined with isometric muscle strength testing in patients with abdominal rectus diastasis and asymptomatic controls
Authors
E. Swedenhammar
O. Wahlström
J. D. Brandt
K. Strigård
C. Häger
B. Stark
A. Nyberg
Publication date
08-06-2024
Publisher
Springer Paris
Keyword
Diastasis Recti
Published in
Hernia
Print ISSN: 1265-4906
Electronic ISSN: 1248-9204
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10029-024-03076-y
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