Instrumented Gait Analysis reveals Deficits in Gait Stability in Chronic Vestibular Loss: JAMA
Regaining the ability to walk safely is a high priority for adults with vestibular loss. However, adults with chronic vestibular loss usually have clinically and functionally meaningful gait deficits. This has been observed by a group of researchers from the Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
The study has been published in the JAMA Otolaryngology- Head & Neck Surgery.
To assess vestibulopathic gait, practitioners need comprehensive knowledge to design, provide, and/or interpret outcomes of interventions. To date, literature suggests few studies that have characterized the effects of vestibular loss on gait.
Therefore, Colin R. Grove and associates recently conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate the use of an instrumented 2-minute walk test in adults with vestibular loss, to further characterize vestibulopathic gait, and to assess whether those with chronic vestibular loss have enduring gait deficits.
This cross-sectional study recruited adults 20 to 79 years of age from an academic, tertiary, hospital-based, ambulatory care setting who were healthy or had confirmed unilateral or bilateral vestibular hypofunction. Of the 43 adults who were screened from convenience and referred samples, 2 declined, and 7 were excluded because of health conditions.
The main exposure was the instrumented 2-minute walk test, which was conducted with participants using wearable inertial measurement units while they walked a 10-m path at their self-selected speed and turned 180° in their self-selected direction at either end.
The following outcomes were observed-
- Data from 17 healthy adults and 13 adults with vestibular loss were analyzed.
- Very large between-group differences were found for SL (left) and peak turn velocity (estimated marginal mean [SE] for healthy vs vestibular groups, 240.17 [12.78]°/s vs 189.74 [14.70]°/s; Cohen d, 1.23; 95% CI, 0.07-2.40).
- The area under the curve was 0.79 for peak turn velocity.
Hence, this led the authors to conclude that "in this cross-sectional study, instrumented gait analysis had good discriminative validity and revealed persistent deficits in gait stability in those with chronic vestibular loss."
The findings of this study suggest that these clinically and functionally meaningful deficits could be targets for vestibular rehabilitation.