Background and aim
Overground gait assessment is limited by the analysis of multiple strides or both spatiotemporal gait characteristics, while fixed speed treadmill walking restricts natural gait speed variations. The Gait Real-time Analysis Interactive Lab (GRAIL)-based 6-minute walk test (6MWT) enables 3D motion analysis and self-paced treadmill walking, and could provide insight in gait alterations in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aim of this study is to compare spatiotemporal gait characteristics between patients with COPD and healthy elderly during the GRAIL-based 6MWT.
Materials and methods
Eighty COPD patients (60% male; 62 +/- 7 years; FEV1:56 +/- 19% predicted) and 38 healthy elderly (63% male; 62 +/- 6 years; FEV1:119 +/- 17% predicted) performed two GRAIL-based 6MWTs. Mean differences and coefficient of variation of spatiotemporal gait characteristics were calculated using the trial with the largest walk distance. Sub-analyses were conducted to account for walking speed differences between groups, and muscle strength and COPD severity within the patient group.
COPD patients showed increased temporal gait characteristics, decreased stride and step lengths, and increased gait variability compared to healthy elderly (p
COPD patients performed the GRAIL-based 6MWT differently compared to healthy elderly. Further research should use other variability measures to investigate gait characteristics in COPD, to assess subtle alterations in gait and to enable development of rehabilitation strategies to improve gait, and possibly balance and fall risk in COPD. Other lower limb muscle groups should be considered when investigating gait alterations in COPD.
COPD patients have different gait characteristics compared to healthy elderly. Independent of walking speed, COPD patients demonstrate increased stride length variability during the GRAIL-based 6MWT compared to healthy elderly.
- OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY-DISEASE
- TREADMILL WALKING
- MUSCLE DYSFUNCTION
- ELDERLY SUBJECTS