Study design: The 10-m walk test (10MWT) and the 6-min walk test (6MWT) have been recommended for assessment of walking in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. The study was designed on test-retest analysis of the 10MWT and 6MWT.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess validity/reliability of different methods of performing the tests.
Setting: The study was set at an SCI unit of a rehabilitation hospital.
Patients and methods: A total of 37 patients; whose median age was 58.5 years (interquartile range 40-66, full range 19-77); median time since onset of SCI was 24 months (interquartile range 16.25-70.5, full range 6-109). Non-traumatic etiology in 20 out of 37 patients; level: 12C, 14T and 11L; American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale grade: 35D/2C. Assessment with the 10MWT (with or without dynamic start) and the 6MWT (short or long track) by two blinded raters to evaluate inter/intra-rater reliabilities.
Results: The 10MWT was performed in a median of 19 s (25th-75th interquartile range 13-28) with the dynamic start and of 18.4 s (25th-75th interquartile range 12.6-29.9) with the static start (P=0.092). The correlation between the results of the two methods was between 0.98 and 0.99. The inter- and intra-rater reliabilities were between 0.95 and 0.99 for both the methods. The 6MWT showed significant differences according to the track length: patients walked a median of 226.7 m (25th-75th interquartile range 123.2-319) on the longer track and of 187.6 m (25th-75th interquartile range 69.7-240.6) on the short one (P<0.001). The correlation between the results of the two methods was between 0.91 and 0.93. The inter- and intra-rater reliabilities were between 0.98 and 0.99.
Conclusion: The 10MWT shows high inter/intra-rater reliability and shows comparable results with both dynamic and static start. The different testing conditions of the 6MWT (track/turns) results in significant differences that need standardization for use in future trials.