Objectives: To compare gait during a 5-minute walk among healthy individuals, persons with spinal cord injury (SCI), and stroke survivors and to investigate whether simultaneous measures of oxygen consumption enhance information about performance.
Design: Descriptive study.
Setting: Veterans Affairs medical center.
Participants: Thirty-nine healthy individuals, 10 persons with SCI, and 20 stroke survivors.
Interventions: Participants were fitted with a portable gas analyzer and walked on a 5-m walkway for 5 minutes.
Main outcome measures: Measures of walk distance, gait speed, gait energy expenditure (GEE), and gait cost were obtained, along with measures of ventilation (.Ve), ventilation and carbon dioxide production slope (.Ve . .VCo2), oxygen pulse, and heart rate.
Results: The SCI group (127.65+/-81.74m) walked less than the stroke survivors (148.80+/-64.3m) or the healthy group (268.90+/-35.01m) but had higher energy demands, as shown by GEE (SCI group, 13.28+/-3.23mL.kg(-1).min(-1); stroke group, 10.18+/-2.14mL.kg(-1).min(-1); healthy group, 9.61+/-1.90mL.kg(-1).min(-1)) and by gait cost (SCI group,.57+/-.40 mL.kg(-1).m(-1); stroke group,.40+/-.52mL.kg(-1).m(-1); healthy group,.18+/-.02mL.kg(-1).m(-1)). Compared with the healthy group, the stroke group had higher .Ve (stroke group, 22.34+/-5.20L/min vs healthy group, 16.11+/-3.22L/min) and .Ve . .VCo2 slope (24.22+/-8.80 vs 18.73+/-5.44, respectively).
Conclusion: Use of metabolic assessment during the 5-minute walk was feasible and provided further information for evaluating gait performance with the subjects studied.