The Validity of Interview Based Examination for Spinal Cord Injury (VIBES)

By examining muscle movements and sensation to light touch and pinprick in different areas of the body, one can reliably identify where along the spinal cord a spinal cord injury (SCI) has occurred and determine how severe ths injury is. This standardized exam is universally accepted and known as the International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI) exam. The exam is performed whenever it is necessary to determine the level and severity of a SCI. However, by definition the ISNCSCI exam requires a hands-on physical exam. The purpose of this study is to develop and validate the use of an interview based equivalent of the ISNCSCI exam which will allow the determination of the approximate level of injury and injury severity without a hands-on physical exam. Participants of the study will be administered one or more short verbal questionnaires, each based upon a different component of the ISNCSCI exam. Participant questionnaire responses will be compared with actual ISNCSCI exam results done as part of routine clinical care and evaluated for validity. The first phase of this study involves trialing a short 6 question (yes/no) survey based on the perianal portion of the ISNCSCI exam. Future developments will include further questionnaires corresponding to the motor and sensory portions of the ISNCSCI exam.

Thomas Bryce, MD is the principal investigator of this project.