Test-retest and time dependent variation and diagnostic values of vibratory sensation determined by biothesiometer and the Rydel-Seiffer tuning fork

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  • Bolette Wittenberg, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Toke K. Svendsen, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Laura M. Gaist, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Mustapha Itani, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Sandra S. Gylfadottir
  • Troels S. Jensen
  • David Gaist, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Søren H. Sindrup, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Thomas Krøigård, University of Southern Denmark

Background and aims: Polyneuropathy is a common neurological disorder with many potential causes. An essential part in screening, diagnosis, and follow-up evaluation of polyneuropathy is testing of the sensory function including vibratory sensation. The graduated Rydel-Seiffer tuning fork and the biothesiometer have been developed to quantify vibratory sensation through detection thresholds. The aim of this study is to compare the vibration detection thresholds determined by the two instruments regarding intraindividual temporal changes, interindividual variation in healthy subjects and comparison of the diagnostic value in patients with a clinical suspicion of polyneuropathy. Methods: Ninety-four healthy subjects, 98 patients with and 97 patients without a diagnosis of polyneuropathy were included. Quantitative sensory testing including biothesiometry, structured clinical examination, and nerve conduction studies were performed three times during 52 weeks in healthy subjects and once in patients. Results: There were no significant changes over time for neither the Rydel-Seiffer tuning fork nor the biothesiometer, and both had larger between-subject variation than within-subject variation. Relative intertrial variability was largest for the biothesiometer. Diagnostic value (sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value) was moderate for both methods (Rydel-Seiffer tuning fork: 58%, 74%, 70%, 64%; biothesiometer: 47%, 77%, 68%, 59%). Interpretation: The Rydel-Seiffer tuning fork and the biothesiometer have a low test-retest and time dependent variation. They perform almost equally as diagnostic tools in patients with suspected polyneuropathy with a tendency toward better performance of the tuning fork.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2230
JournalBrain and Behavior
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC

    Research areas

  • biothesiometer, polyneuropathy, Rydel-Seiffer, tuning fork, vibration detection threshold

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