Changes in Strenght, Sensation, and Prehension in Acute Cervical Spinal Cord Injury: European Multicenter Responsiveness Study of the GRASSP

Inge-Marie Velstra, A. Curt, A. Frotzler, R. Abel, S. Kalsi-Ryan, Johan Swanik Rietman, M. Bolliger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the internal and external responsiveness and recovery profiles of the Graded Redefined Assessment of Strength, Sensibility, and Prehension (GRASSP) instrument in revealing changes in upper limb function within the first year following cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). Method: A European prospective, longitudinal, multicenter study assessing the GRASSP at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after cervical SCI. Subtests of GRASSP were compared to the upper extremity motor (UEMS) and light touch scores (LT) according to the International Standards of Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI), the Spinal Cord Independence Measure self-care subscore (SCIM-SS), as well as a clinician-rated outcome measure (CROM) of clinical relevance. Data were analyzed for GRASSP responsiveness and recovery rate over time. Results: Seventy-four participants entered the study. GRASSP subtests proved responsive (standardized response mean [SRM] ranged from 0.79 to 1.48 for strength, 0.50 to 1.03 for prehension, and 0.14 to 0.64 for sensation) between all examination time points. In comparison, UEMS and LT showed lower responsiveness (SRM UEMS ranged from 0.69 to 1.29 and SRM LT ranged from 0.30 to −0.13). All GRASSP subtests revealed significant, moderate-to-excellent correlations with UEMS, LT, and SCIM-SS at each time point, and changes in GRASSP subtests were in accordance with the CROM. GRASSP prehension and motor recovery was largest between 1 and 3 months. Conclusion: The GRASSP showed excellent responsiveness, detecting distinct changes in strength and prehension relating to the severity of cervical SCI. It detected clinically significant changes complimentary to the ISNCSCI and SCIM-SS assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-766
Number of pages12
JournalNeurorehabilitation and neural repair
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • IR-100792
  • METIS-311339

Cite this