Assesses manual wheelchair mobility (i.e., skill and performance).
Tasks cover 3 aspects of mobility:
1) Tempo (tasks = figure-of-8 shape and sprint)
2) Technical skill (tasks = crossing a doorstep, mounting a platform, and transferring)
3) Physical capacity (tasks = wheelchair propulsion and ascending slopes).
The performance time and physical strain are useful to monitor progress once the individual achieves a maximal score on the ability score or if they have not demonstrated any change over repeated administrations.
The WC includes functional tasks developed specifically for the SCI population. However, the tasks are only relevant to manual wheelchair users. Some tasks may be too difficult / not suitable if individuals have medical complications or are older.
The Wheelchair Circuit consists of 9 observational tasks on mobility; this may cause significant patient and clinician burden.
Approx. 30-45 min, 8-9 tasks (with 2 min of rest between each task).
Number of Items
Wheelchair Treadmill (with 3% and 6% grade)
Heart Rate monitor, Stopwatch
0.10 m platform on floor
Wood doorstep height 0.4 m
15 m corridor
Successful performance of the task (Y/N), time (seconds), and/or physical strain (peak HR) are recorded. Ability score (0-8 or 0-9): number of tasks completed adequately. For 3 tasks, 0.5 may be awarded if it is partially completed. Separate scores for ability (ordinal scale); performance time (seconds); and physical strain (formula using HR data) are calculated.
For the 8-item version:
Performance time score: sum of the times taken during “figure-of-8-shape” and “15m-sprint”
Physical strain score: mean peak HR between 3% & 6% slope tasks, expressed in bpm or %HRR
None, however experience in exercise testing is helpful.
Dallmeijer AJ, van der Woude LH, Hollander AP, van As HH. Physical performance during rehabilitation in persons with spinal cord injuries. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999;31:1330-1335. http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/10487376
Janssen TW, van Oers CA, van der Woude LH, Hollander AP. Reliability of heart rate response to non-steady-state activities of daily living in men with spinal cord injuries. Scand J Rehabil Med 1994;26:71-78. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7939495
Kilkens OJ, Dallmeijer AJ, De Witte LP, Van Der Woude LH, Post MW. The Wheelchair Circuit: Construct validity and responsiveness of a test to assess manual wheelchair mobility in persons with spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:424-431. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15031828
Kilkens OJ, Post MW, van der Woude LH, Dallmeijer AJ, van den Heuvel WJ. The Wheelchair Circuit: reliability of a test to assess mobility in persons with spinal cord injuries. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2002;83:1783-1788. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12474187