Increased Walking Variability in Elderly Persons with Congestive Heart Failure

Jeffrey M. Hausdorff, Daniel E. Forman, Zvi Ladin, Ary L. Goldberger, David R. Rigney, Jeanne Y. Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To determine the effects of congestive heart failure on a person's ability to walk at a steady pace while ambulating at a self‐determined rate. SETTING: Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, a primary and tertiary teaching hospital, and a social activity center for elderly adults living in the community. PARTICIPANTS: Eleven elderly subjects (aged 70–93 years) with well compensated congestive heart failure (NY Heart Association class I or II), seven elderly subjects (aged 70–79 years) without congestive heart failure, and 10 healthy young adult subjects (aged 20–30 years). MEASUREMENTS: Subjects walked for 8 minutes on level ground at their own selected walking rate. Footswitches were used to measure the time between steps. Step rate (steps/minute) and step rate variability were calculated for the entire walking period, for 30 seconds during the first minute of the walk, for 30 seconds during the last minute of the walk, and for the 30‐second period when each subject's step rate variability was minimal. Group means and 5% and 95% confidence intervals were computed. MAIN RESULTS: All measures of walking variability were significantly increased in the elderly subjects with congestive heart failure, intermediate in the elderly controls, and lowest in the young subjects. There was no overlap between the three groups using the minimal 30‐second variability (elderly CHF vs elderly controls: P < 0.001, elderly controls vs young: P < 0.001), and no overlap between elderly subjects with and without congestive heart failure when using the overall variability. For all four measures, there was no overlap in any of the confidence intervals, and all group means were significantly different (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Step rate variability is increased in elderly subjects with well compensated congestive heart failure compared with elderly subjects without congestive heart failure and healthy young adults. 1994 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1061
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


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