Bioimpedance spectroscopy provides a valid non-invasive muscle strength measure in burn patients: preliminary results

A/Prof. Dale Edgar1, Mr Paul Gittings2, Mr Dale  Edwick2,3, Dr Dana  Hince4, Dr Tiffany Grisbrook5, W. Prof Fiona Wood2,3,6, Prof Ben Wand7

1Burn Injury Research Node, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Australia, 2State Adult Burns Unit, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch, Australia, 3Fiona Wood Foundation, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch, Australia, 4Institute for Health Research,  The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Australia, 5School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science,  Curtin University of Technology, Bentley, Australia, 6Burn Injury Research Unit, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, 7School of Physiotherapy, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Australia


Introduction: Bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) is an emergent technology, enabling measures of physiological parameters after burn. Assessing muscle strength post-burn, is confounded by factors influencing a patient’s performance during testing, such as pain, fear and surgery. BIS as a non-invasive, objective muscle strength measure is explored.

Aim: In acute burn patients, determine if BIS is a valid measure of muscle strength.

Methods: Over a period of 4-5 weeks post-burn, during three study training sessions, BIS limb measures were recorded for comparison to isometric muscle strength for multiple limb muscles and functional movements. Results for intracellular resistance (Ri), an indicator of mass, were analysed using mixed effects linear regression models, clustered by ID and adjusted for pain.

Results: The cohort (n=48): mean age 33.1 yrs (SD=11.2), TBSA 15.3% (SD=8.33), 88% male. Significant associations of the UL Ri with strength indicated, 100Ω Ri decrease in Ri meant strength increases of 1.1kg in biceps (p<0.001), 0.6kg in triceps (p=0.001), 0.8kg in deltoid (p<0.001) & 1.2kg in grip (p=0.002). BIS and isometric shoulder press strength were not associated (p=0.180). Adding body weight, burn location and TBSA did not improve the models. Whole body and lower limb analyses are ongoing.

Conclusion: Results indicate BIS is a valid, non-invasive objective measure of UL muscle strength.


A senior physiotherapist and translational researcher for over 26 years, for >20 years he has been devoted to the specialization in provision and improvement of burn survivor and acute trauma rehabilitation in a number of Australian burns and plastic surgery (trauma) units. After moving from Royal Perth Hospital, Dale’s current clinical workload is adult burn survivors at the Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA.

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