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Open AccessArticle

Measuring Spinal Mobility Using an Inertial Measurement Unit System: A Validation Study in Axial Spondyloarthritis

Faculty of Medicine, University of Córdoba, 14005 Córdoba, Spain
Rheumatology Department, University Hospital Reina Sofía, 14005 Córdoba, Spain
Maimonides Biomedical Research Institute of Cordoba, 14005 Córdoba, Spain
Physiotherapy Department IBIMA, University of Malaga, 29010 Malaga, Spain
Computing and Numerical Analysis Department, University of Cordoba, 14014 Córdoba, Spain
Western Health and Social Care Trust, Londonderry BT47 6SB, UK
Department of Rheumatology, University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London NW1 2PG, UK
Intelligent Systems Research Centre, University of Ulster, Derry BT48 7JL, UK
Letterkenny Institute of Technology, F92 FC93 Letterkenny, Ireland
Department of Rehabilitation and Sports Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth BH12 5BB, UK
Independent Researcher, D08 W9RT Dublin, Ireland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Members are listed at the Acknowledgments.
Diagnostics 2020, 10(6), 426;
Received: 22 May 2020 / Revised: 16 June 2020 / Accepted: 22 June 2020 / Published: 24 June 2020
Portable inertial measurement units (IMUs) are beginning to be used in human motion analysis. These devices can be useful for the evaluation of spinal mobility in individuals with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA). The objectives of this study were to assess (a) concurrent criterion validity in individuals with axSpA by comparing spinal mobility measured by an IMU sensor-based system vs. optical motion capture as the reference standard; (b) discriminant validity comparing mobility with healthy volunteers; (c) construct validity by comparing mobility results with relevant outcome measures. A total of 70 participants with axSpA and 20 healthy controls were included. Individuals with axSpA completed function and activity questionnaires, and their mobility was measured using conventional metrology for axSpA, an optical motion capture system, and an IMU sensor-based system. The UCOASMI, a metrology index based on measures obtained by motion capture, and the IUCOASMI, the same index using IMU measures, were also calculated. Descriptive and inferential analyses were conducted to show the relationships between outcome measures. There was excellent agreement (ICC > 0.90) between both systems and a significant correlation between the IUCOASMI and conventional metrology (r = 0.91), activity (r = 0.40), function (r = 0.62), quality of life (r = 0.55) and structural change (r = 0.76). This study demonstrates the validity of an IMU system to evaluate spinal mobility in axSpA. These systems are more feasible than optical motion capture systems, and they could be useful in clinical practice. View Full-Text
Keywords: axial spondyloarthritis; spinal mobility; inertial measurement unit axial spondyloarthritis; spinal mobility; inertial measurement unit
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Aranda-Valera, I.C.; Cuesta-Vargas, A.; Garrido-Castro, J.L.; Gardiner, P.V.; López-Medina, C.; Machado, P.M.; Condell, J.; Connolly, J.; Williams, J.M.; Muñoz-Esquivel, K.; O’Dwyer, T.; Castro-Villegas, M.C.; González-Navas, C.; Collantes-Estévez, E.; on behalf of iMaxSpA Study Group. Measuring Spinal Mobility Using an Inertial Measurement Unit System: A Validation Study in Axial Spondyloarthritis. Diagnostics 2020, 10, 426.

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