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Linking Pelvic Floor Muscle Function Terminology to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health


Saltiel, Fernanda; Goncalves Miranda-Gazzola, Ana Paula; Rayane, Oliveira Vitoria [u. a.]


American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)


Physical Therapy, 2020, Volume 100 (Issue 9), Seite 1659-1680, Alexandria, Virginia: Eigenverlag, ISSN: 0031-9023 (Print); 1538-6724 (Online)





A previous systematic review on pelvic floor muscle function (PFMF) identified a miscellaneity of terms. The lack of consensual terminology might have come from the complexity of neuromusculoskeletal function itself. This study sought to link the previously identified PFMF terms to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) terminology.


In this secondary analysis study, 10 linkage rules were applied to link the 196 previously identified PFMF terms to the ICF. Two researchers performed the linking process independently. Disagreements were solved by open dialogue with a third researcher. Percentage agreement was computed for main outcome.


A total of 184 (93.9 percent) PFMF terms were subsumed into the following 6 ICF terms: Tone, Involuntary movement reaction, Control, Coordination, Strength, and Endurance. The most frequently investigated PFMF was Strength (25.5 percent), followed by Involuntary movement reaction (22.9 percent), Endurance (17.2 percent), Control (14.1 percent), Coordination (9.9 percent), and Tone (4.2 percent). Only 6.2 percent PFMF could not be linked to ICF terminology. A wide variation of instruments/methods was used to measure PFMF. Vaginal palpation was the only method employed to measure all six PFMF. Percentage agreement between raters was 73.2 percent.


Linking PFMF terminology to the ICF was feasible and valid. It allowed the identification of the most investigated PFMF and their measuring methods. ICF terminology to describe PFMF should be used since it may improve communication, data gathering and the advance in scientific knowledge.


Standardized terminology anchored in a theoretical framework is crucial to data gathering, communication, and dissemination of evidence-based practice. The PFMF terminology based on ICF can be used to improve data pooling and communication.

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Zeitschriftenbeitrag / Forschungsergebnis


Physical Therapy

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Informationsstand: 18.09.2020

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