Gait asymmetry, and bilateral coordination of gait during a six-minute walk test in persons with multiple sclerosis

Meir Plotnik*, Joanne M. Wagner, Gautam Adusumilli, Amihai Gottlieb, Robert T. Naismith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Gait impairments in persons with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) leading to decreased ambulation and reduced walking endurance remain poorly understood. Our objective was to assess gait asymmetry (GA) and bilateral coordination of gait (BCG), among pwMS during the six-minute walk test (6MWT), and determine their association with disease severity. We recruited 92 pwMS (age: 46.6 ± 7.9; 83% females) with a range of clinical disability, who completed the 6MWT wearing gait analysis system. GA was assessed by comparing left and right swing times, and BCG was assessed by the phase coordination index (PCI). Several functional and subjective gait assessments were performed. Results show that gait is more asymmetric and less coordinated as the disease progresses (p < 0.0001). Participants with mild MS showed significantly better BCG as reflected by lower PCI values in comparison to the other two MS severity groups (severe: p = 0.001, moderate: p = 0.02). GA and PCI also deteriorated significantly each minute during the 6MWT (p < 0.0001). GA and PCI (i.e., BCG) show weaker associations with clinical MS status than associations observed between functional and subjective gait assessments and MS status. Similar to other neurological cohorts, GA and PCI may be important parameters to assess and target in interventions among pwMS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12382
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

Funding

FundersFunder number
NMSSPP1940
Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences
National Institutes of HealthK12 HD055931, CO6 RR020092
National Center for Research ResourcesUL1RR024992
National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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