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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Geriatrics - Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Physiology

Quantitative Normative Gait Data in a Large Cohort of Ambulatory Persons with Parkinson’s Disease
Published: Friday, August 03, 2012
Author: Chris J. Hass et al.

by Chris J. Hass, Paul Malczak, Joe Nocera, Elizabeth L. Stegemöller, Aparna Shukala, Irene Malaty, Charles E. Jacobson, Michael S. Okun, Nick McFarland

Background

Gait performance is widely evaluated to assess health status in older adult populations. While several investigators have presented normative values for spatiotemporal gait parameters drawn from older adult populations, the literature has been void of large-scale cohort studies, which are needed in order to provide quantitative, normative gait data in persons with Parkinson’s disease. The aim of this investigation was to provide reference values for clinically important gait characteristics in a large sample of ambulatory persons with Parkinson’s disease to aid both clinicians and researchers in their evaluations and treatments of gait impairment.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Gait performance was collected in 310 individuals with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease as they walked across a pressure sensitive walkway. Fourteen quantitative gait parameters were measured and evaluated with respect to Hoehn and Yahr disease staging and gender. Disease duration and age were controlled for in all analyses. Individuals with the greatest Parkinson’s disability walked significantly slower with shorter steps and stride lengths than the mild and moderately affected groups. Further, the most affected patients spent more time with both feet on the ground, and walked with a wider base of support than the moderately disabled patients. No differences were detected between the mild and moderate disability groups on any of the gait parameters evaluated.

Conclusions/Significance

Reference values for 14 gait parameters in a large cohort of ambulatory patients with Parkinson’s disease are provided and these may be highly useful for assessing and interpreting an individual’s gait dysfunction. It is important for clinicians and researchers to appreciate the lack of change in quantitative parameters as PD patients move from mild to moderate gait impairment.

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