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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2017 Sep;31(9):842-850. doi: 10.1177/1545968317723751. Epub 2017 Aug 8.

Ten Meters Walking Speed in Spinal Cord-Injured Patients: Does Speed Predict Who Walks and Who Rolls?

Author information

1
1 Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
2
2 Klinik Hohe Warte Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany.
3
3 Balgrist University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Walking speed is assumed to be a key factor in regaining ambulation after spinal cord injury (SCI). However, from the literature it remains unclear which walking speed usually results in independent community ambulation.

OBJECTIVE:

The primary aim of this study was to determine at which walking speed SCI patients tend to walk in the community instead of using a wheelchair. The secondary aim was to investigate clinical conditions that favor independent ambulation in the community.

METHODS:

Data from SCI patients were collected retrospectively from the European Multicenter Study about Spinal Cord Injury database. We determined a cutoff walking speed at which the patients tend to walk in the community by plotting a receiver operating characteristics curve, using the Spinal Cord Independence Measure for outdoor mobility. Univariate analyses investigated which factors influence independent community ambulation.

RESULTS:

A walking speed of 0.59 m/s is the cutoff between patients who do and do not ambulate independently in the community, with a sensitivity of 91.6% and a specificity of 80.3%. Age, injury severity, and lower limb muscle strength have a significant influence on independent community ambulation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with an SCI who regain a walking speed of 0.59 m/s tend to achieve a level of walking effectiveness that allows for independent community walking. Although such patients tend to be younger and less severely injured, this walking speed can be a target for locomotor training in rehabilitation and clinical trials that lead to a meaningful outcome level of community walking.

KEYWORDS:

ambulation; spinal cord injury; walking speed

PMID:
28786305
DOI:
10.1177/1545968317723751
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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