Decline in gait stability has been associated with increased fall risk in older adults. Reliable and clinically feasible methods of gait instability assessment are needed. This study evaluated the relative and absolute reliability and concurrent validity of the testing procedure of the clinical version of the Narrow Path Walking Test (NPWT) under single task (ST) and dual task (DT) conditions. Thirty independent community-dwelling older adults (65-87 years) were tested twice. Participants were instructed to walk within the 6-m narrow path without stepping out. Trial time, number of steps, trial velocity, number of step errors, and number of cognitive task errors were determined. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated as indices of agreement, and a graphic approach called "mountain plot" was applied to help interpret the direction and magnitude of disagreements between testing procedures. Smallest detectable change and smallest real difference (SRD) were computed to determine clinically relevant improvement at group and individual levels, respectively. Concurrent validity was assessed using Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment Tool (POMA) and the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). Test-retest agreement (ICC1,2) varied from 0.77 to 0.92 in ST and from 0.78 to 0.92 in DT conditions, with no apparent systematic differences between testing procedures demonstrated by the mountain plot graphs. Smallest detectable change and smallest real change were small for motor task performance and larger for cognitive errors. Significant correlations were observed for trial velocity and trial time with POMA and SPPB. The present results indicate that the NPWT testing procedure is highly reliable and reproducible.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the contribution of the management of “Mishan Avot HaNegev”, protected retirement home for older adults, to the research study. This work was partially supported by a grant from the European Union “Self Mobility Improvement of eLderly by counteractING falls” (Grant number EU FP7 , GA #215493).
- Dual task
- Gait instability
- Single task
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology