Turning is an important marker of balance confidence and walking limitation in persons with multiple sclerosis

Gautam Adusumilli, Samantha Lancia, Victoria A. Levasseur, Vaishak Amblee, Megan Orchard, Joanne M. Wagner, Robert T. Naismith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The standard functional tool for gait assessment in multiple sclerosis (MS) clinical trials has been the 25-Foot Timed Walk Test, a measure of gait speed. Straight-line gait assessment may not reflect adequately upon balance and coordination. Walking tests with turns may add additional information towards understanding gait and balance status, and be more reflective of ambulation in the community. Understanding the impact of turn parameters on patient-reported outcomes of balance and walking would help MS clinicians better formulate treatment plans for persons with gait limitations. In this study, ninety-one persons with MS (Expanded Disability Status Score; EDSS, range: 0–6.5) were enrolled in an initial cross-sectional study. Twenty-four subjects (EDSS, range:1.0–6.0) completed a follow-up visit an average of 12 months later. Spatiotemporal gait analysis was collected at both visits using APDM Opal wireless body-worn sensors while performing the Timed-Up-and-Go (TUG) and 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT). For both cross-sectional and longitudinal data, regression analyses determined the impact on the addition of turning parameters to stride velocity (SV), in the prediction of self-reported balance confidence (Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC)) and walking limitation (12-item Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale (MSWS-12)). The addition of 6MWT peak turn velocity (PTV) to 6MWT SV increased the predictive power of the 6MWT for the ABC from 20% to 33%, and increased the predictive power from 28% to 41% for the MSWS-12. TUG PTV added to TUG SV also strengthened the relationship of the TUG for the ABC from 19% to 28%, and 27% to 36% for the MSWS-12. For those with 1 year follow-up, percent change in turn number of steps (TNS%Δ) during the 6MWT added to 6MWT SV%Δ improved the modeling of ABC%Δ from 24% to 33%. 6MWT PTV%Δ added to 6MWT SV%Δ increased the predictive power of MSWS-12%Δ from 8% to 27%. Conclusively, turn parameters improved modeling of self-perceived balance confidence and walking limitations when added to the commonly utilized measure of gait speed. Tests of longer durations with multiple turns, as opposed to shorter durations with a single turn, modeled longitudinal change more accurately. Turn speed and stability should be qualitatively assessed during the clinic visit, and use of multi-faceted tests such as the TUG or 6MWT may be required to fully understand gait deterioration in persons with MS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0198178
JournalPloS one
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2018

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