The shuttle walk test: a new approach to functional walking capacity measurements for patients after stroke?

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Jan;93(1):163-6. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2011.08.012.


Objective: To determine the construct validity, test-retest reliability, and measurement error of the shuttle walk test (SWT) for patients after stroke.

Design: Clinimetric study.

Setting: Three rehabilitation centers in the Netherlands.

Participants: A sample of patients after stroke (N=75; mean age ± SD, 58.8±9.8y) who are capable of walking without physical assistance. Patients were excluded if they had sustained a subarachnoid hemorrhage or a stroke in the cerebellum or brainstem, or had any other conditions that limited their walking capacity more than the current stroke, or had sensory aphasia.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Construct validity (6-minute walk test [6MWT]) and test-retest reliability of the SWT were assessed. Measurement error was determined with the standard error of measurement (SEM), limits of agreement, and smallest detectable differences (SDDs).

Results: Construct validity was confirmed by high significant correlations (r(p)≥.65, P<.01) between the SWT and 6MWT. Difference scores were significantly higher in favor of the SWT for high-speed walkers (≥0.8m/s). In the small group (n=12) of low-speed walkers (<0.8m/s), no significant correlations and differences between both tests were found except for walking distance in favor of the 6MWT. Test-retest reliability was good (intraclass correlation coefficient model 2,1 [ICC(2,1)]=.961 [.936-.977]). SEM was 6.0%, and the SDDs for individual and group were 302.0m (37%) and 38.7m (5%), respectively.

Conclusions: The SWT is a valid and reliable measure and therefore a feasible instrument to determine functional walking capacity of patients after stroke, especially in high-speed walkers.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dependent Ambulation
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / classification*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Psychometrics
  • Recovery of Function
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sampling Studies
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking / physiology*