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Am J Med Sci. 2009 Nov;338(5):361-7. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e3181b2b4ff.

One hundred-foot walk test for functional assessment of clinic patients.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas 79430, USA.



Gait velocity measurements provide functional assessment of patients with diverse diseases and allow predictions about future adverse events. The optimal distance for patient classification is uncertain.


Participants were identified in internal medicine clinics and had to be independently ambulatory. Study investigators collected medical information, used a qualitative test to assess gait and balance (G and B score), and measured gait velocity with a timed 100-foot walk.


One hundred eighty-four patients participated in this study. The mean age was 57.8 +/- 12.7 years; 50% of the participants were men. The mean gait speed was 3.33 +/- 0.71 ft/sec. Gait speed decreased with age and with body mass index (BMI) and increased with height and male sex. Patients with more comorbidities had decreased speed (P < 0.01). There were significant correlations between gait speed and grip strength (P < 0.01) and between lower G and B scores and slower gait speeds (P < 0.01). G and B scores were negatively correlated with age, BMI, and certain diagnoses. They also predicted risk for past falls. The mean heart rate change during the test was 8 beats per minute. Patients in the highest quartile for heart rate change had lower gait speeds than patients in the other 3 quartiles, suggesting physiologic impairment.


A 100-foot walk test in clinic patients provides a practical functional assessment. Gait speed was slower in patients with multiple comorbidities and poor balance. Patients with increased heart rate responses during this test seem to have physiologic impairment. This test has the potential to predict adverse events and to quantitatively determine responses to therapeutic interventions but needs prospective evaluation in clinical studies.

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