Gait in hemiplegia: evaluation of clinical features with the wisconsin gait scale
Assunta Pizzi, Giovanna Carlucci, Catuscia Falsini, Francesco Lunghi, Sonia Verdesca and
Objective: To assess the ability of the Wisconsin Gait Scale to evaluate qualitative features of changes in hemiplegic gait in post-stroke patients.
Design: A prospective observational study.
Subjects: Ten healthy subjects and 56 hemiplegic outpatients, more than 12 months post-stroke, consecutively admitted in a rehabilitation centre.
Methods: Patients were videotaped while walking at a comfortable speed. Quantitative and clinical gait parameters were derived from videotaped walking tasks at admission and at the end of a period of rehabilitation training. Qualitative features were assessed using the Wisconsin Gait Scale. Functional status was rated through the modified Barthel Index.
Results: After training, the median Wisconsin Gait Scale score improved significantly (28 vs 26.5; p = 0.003). In particular, “weight shift to paretic side” and patterns during the swing phase of the affected leg were improved. Gait velocity (0.3 vs 0.4 m/sec; p = 0.001) and stride length (77 vs 85 cm; p = 0.0002) increased significantly, whereas number of steps (25 vs 23; p = 0.004), stride period (2.5 vs 2.3 sec; p = 0.04), and stance period (2.1 vs 2 sec; p = 0.03) of the unaffected side were reduced. The Barthel Index score increased (71 vs 78; p = 0.005).
Conclusion: The Wisconsin Gait Scale is a useful tool to rate qualitative gait alterations of post-stroke hemiplegic subjects and to assess changes over time during rehabilitation training. It may be used when a targeted and standardized characterization of hemiplegic gait is needed for tailoring rehabilitation and monitoring results.