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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 810415, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/810415
Clinical Study

Effects of Walking Endurance Reduction on Gait Stability in Patients with Stroke

1Clinical Laboratory of Experimental Neurorehabilitation, Santa Lucia Foundation I.R.C.C.S., via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Rome, Italy
2Operative Unit F, Santa Lucia Foundation I.R.C.C.S., via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Rome, Italy

Received 6 June 2011; Revised 18 July 2011; Accepted 19 July 2011

Academic Editor: Julie A. Bernhardt

Copyright © 2012 M. Iosa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Control of gait is usually altered following stroke, and it may be further compromised by overexertion and fatigue. This study aims to quantitatively assess patients' gait stability during six-minute walking, measuring upper body accelerations of twenty patients with stroke ( 6 4 ± 1 3 years old) and ten age-matched healthy subjects ( 6 3 ± 1 0 years old). Healthy subjects showed a steady gait in terms of speed and accelerations over the six minutes. Conversely, the patients unable to complete the test ( 𝑛 = 8 ) progressively reduced their walking speed (− 2 2 ± 1 1 %, confidence interval CI95%: −13, −29%, 𝑃 = 0 . 0 4 6 ). Patients able to complete the test ( 𝑛 = 1 2 ) did not vary their walking speed over time ( 𝑃 = 0 . 4 9 3 ). However, this ability was not supported by an adequate capacity to maintain their gait stability, as shown by a progressive increase of their upper body accelerations (+ 5 ± 1 1 %, CI95%: −1; +12%, 𝑃 = 0 . 0 1 0 ). Walking endurance and gait stability should be both quantitatively assessed and carefully improved during the rehabilitation of patients with stroke.