Objective: To assess the reliability of 6 gait performance tests in individuals with chronic mild to moderate post-stroke hemiparesis.
Design: An intra-rater (between occasions) test-retest reliability study.
Subjects: Fifty men and women (mean age 58+/-6.4 years) 6-46 months post-stroke.
Methods: The Timed "Up & Go" test, the Comfortable and the Fast Gait Speed tests, the Stair Climbing ascend and descend tests and the 6-Minute Walk test were assessed 7 days apart. Reliability was evaluated with the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC(2,1)), the Bland & Altman analysis, the standard error of measurement (SEM and SEM%) and the smallest real difference (SRD and SRD%).
Results: Test-retest agreements were high (ICC(2,1) 0.94-0.99) with no discernible systematic differences between the tests. The standard error of measurement (SEM%), representing the smallest change that indicates a real (clinical) improvement for a group of individuals, was small (< 9%). The smallest real difference (SRD%), representing the smallest change that indicates a real (clinical) improvement for a single individual, was also small (13-23%).
Conclusion: These commonly used gait performance tests are highly reliable and can be recommended to evaluate improvements in various aspects of gait performance in individuals with chronic mild to moderate hemiparesis after stroke.