Walking entails orchestration of the sensory, motor, balance, and coordination systems, and walking disability is a critical concern after stroke. How and to what extent these systems influence walking disability after stroke and recovery have not been comprehensively studied.
We retrospectively analyzed patients with stroke in the Post-acute care-Cerebrovascular Diseases (PAC-CVD) program. We compared the characteristics of patient groups stratified by their ability to complete the 5-m walk test across various time points of rehabilitation. We then used stepwise linear regression to examine the degree to which each stroke characteristic and functional ability could predict patient gait performance.
Five hundred seventy-three patients were recruited, and their recovery of walking ability was defined by the timing of recovery in a 5-m walk test. The proportion of patients who could complete the 5-m walk test at admission, at 3 weeks of rehabilitation, at 6 weeks of rehabilitation, between 7 and 12 weeks of rehabilitation, and who could not complete the 5-m walk test after rehabilitation was 52.2%, 21.8%, 8.7%, 8.7%, and 8.6%, respectively. At postacute care discharge, patients who regained walking ability earlier had a higher chance of achieving higher levels of walking activity. Stepwise linear regression showed that Berg Balance Scale (BBS) (β: 0.011, p < .001), age (β: −0.005, p = .001), National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) (6a + 6b; β: −0.042, p = .018), Mini-Nutritional assessment (MNA) (β: −0.007, p < .027), and Fugl–Meyer upper extremity assessment (FuglUE) (β: 0.002, p = .047) scores predicted patient's gait speed at discharge.