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      White Paper: “Walking Speed: the Sixth Vital Sign” :

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          Physical performance measures in the clinical setting.

          To assess the ability of gait speed alone and a three-item lower extremity performance battery to predict 12-month rates of hospitalization, decline in health, and decline in function in primary care settings serving older adults. Prospective cohort study. Primary care programs of a Medicare health maintenance organization (HMO) and Veterans Affairs (VA) system. Four hundred eighty-seven persons aged 65 and older. Lower extremity performance Established Population for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (EPESE) battery including gait speed, chair stands, and tandem balance tests; demographics; health care use; health status; functional status; probability of repeated admission scale (Pra); and primary physician's hospitalization risk estimate. Veterans had poorer health and higher use than HMO members. Gait speed alone and the EPESE battery predicted hospitalization; 41% (21/51) of slow walkers (gait speed 1.0 m/s) (P <.0001). The relationship was stronger in the HMO than in the VA. Both performance measures remained independent predictors after accounting for Pra. The EPESE battery was superior to gait speed when both Pra and primary physician's risk estimate were included. Both performance measures predicted decline in function and health status in both health systems. Performance measures, alone or in combination with self-report measures, were more able to predict outcomes than self-report alone. Gait speed and a physical performance battery are brief, quantitative estimates of future risk for hospitalization and decline in health and function in clinical populations of older adults. Physical performance measures might serve as easily accessible "vital signs" to screen older adults in clinical settings.
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            Gait velocity as a single predictor of adverse events in healthy seniors aged 75 years and older.

            Although gait velocity (GV) measurement could predict poor outcomes, few studies regarding its usefulness as a single test in well functioning elderly persons have been pursued. The aim of this study was to asses whether GV could be sufficient to predict adverse events such as hospitalization for any cause, requirement for a caregiver, nursing home placement, falls, fractures, or death in healthy elderly persons. Ours was a cohort study comprising 102 well functioning participants aged 75 and older. Demographic features, health status, and functional capacity were assessed at baseline and followed for adverse outcomes. Measurements included evaluation of cognition, activities of daily living, and mobility. The time required to walk the middle 8 meters of 10 meters was defined as GV. Three GV groups were distinguished: high GV (>1.1 m/s), median GV (1-0.7 m/s), and low GV (<0.7 m/s). At baseline, the three groups were comparable in their health status with an average age of 79.6 +/- 4 years. At 24 months, the low GV group had a significantly higher incidence of adverse events than did the other groups. Low GV was a predictor of hospitalization (relative risk [RR] = 5.9, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9-8.5), requirement of a caregiver (RR = 9.5, 95% CI, 1.3-2.5), and new falls (RR = 5.4, 95% CI, 2.0-4.3). These associations remained significant after a multiple logistic regression analysis. GV measurement in the ambulatory setting may allow the detection of healthy elderly people at risk for adverse events. These data may suggest that simple assessment of GV is enough to predict adverse events in well functioning older persons.
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              Improvements in speed-based gait classifications are meaningful.

              Gait velocity is a powerful indicator of function and prognosis after stroke. Gait velocity can be stratified into clinically meaningful functional ambulation classes, such as household ambulation ( 0.8 m/s). The purpose of the current study was to determine whether changes in velocity-based community ambulation classification were related to clinically meaningful changes in stroke-related function and quality of life. In subacute stroke survivors with mild to moderate deficits who participated in a randomized clinical trial of stroke rehabilitation and had a baseline gait velocity of 0.8 m/s or less, we assessed the effect of success versus failure to achieve a transition to the next class on function and quality of life according to domains of the Stroke Impact Scale (SIS). Of 64 eligible participants, 19 were initially household ambulators, and 12 of them (68%) transitioned to limited community ambulation, whereas of 45 initially limited community ambulators, 17 (38%) became full community ambulators. Function and quality-of-life SIS scores after treatment were significantly higher among survivors who achieved a favorable transition compared with those who did not. Among household ambulators, those who transitioned to limited or full community ambulation had significantly better SIS scores in mobility (P=0.0299) and participation (P=0.0277). Among limited community ambulators, those who achieved the transition to full community ambulatory status had significantly better scores in SIS participation (P=0.0085). A gait velocity gain that results in a transition to a higher class of ambulation results in better function and quality of life, especially for household ambulators. Household ambulators possibly had more severe stroke deficits, reducing the risk of "ceiling" effects in SIS-measured activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. Outcome assessment based on transitions within a mobility classification scheme that is rooted in gait velocity yields potentially meaningful indicators of clinical benefit. Outcomes should be selected that are clinically meaningful for all levels of severity.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy
                Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy
                Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)
                1539-8412
                2009
                2009
                : 32
                : 2
                : 2-5
                Article
                10.1519/00139143-200932020-00002
                20039582
                e85c7ae9-0932-4f22-a1c6-684123a90095
                © 2009
                History

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