Measurement properties of instruments for assessment of cervical spine function in infants with torticollis: a systematic review.

The aim of this study was to systematically review the measurement properties of instruments which assess cervical spine function in infants with torticollis. Electronic searches were performed in MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, Web of Science and the Cochrane Library, combining three constructs ('torticollis', 'cervical spine assessment' and 'measurement properties'). Two reviewers independently rated the methodological quality and the quality of measurement properties of identified articles, using both the COSMIN (COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health status Measurement INstruments) checklist and quality criteria for measurement properties. Five studies, using six instruments, met the inclusion criteria and were analysed. Included instruments were the goniometer, electronic pendular goniometer, protractor, still photography, Muscle Function Scale and a range of motion limitation scale. All studies assessed reliability, and one study also assessed content validity and hypothesis testing. The methodological quality of the studies varied from poor to excellent according to the COSMIN checklist. Two instruments were found to have good measurement properties from high-quality studies: still photography for the assessment of habitual head tilt in supine and the Muscle Function Scale for the assessment of side-flexor muscle function in lateral head righting.Conclusion: This systematic review identified two reliable tools for the assessment of cervical spine function in infants with torticollis. Further research is required to assess the measurement properties of tools already described in the literature and to develop further tools for use in this population. What is known? • A thorough assessment of the infant presenting with torticollis is essential, in order to correctly diagnose, rule out 'red flags' and manage appropriately • Assessment tools need to have robust measurement properties in order to be of value for clinical practice and research What is new? • This systematic review identified two valid and reliable tools for the assessment of cervical spine function in infants with torticollis • Further research is required to assess the measurement properties of tools already described in the literature and to develop further tools for use in infants with torticollis.