Content » Vol 45, Issue 2

Original report

Reliability of the 12-step ascend and descend test and its correlation with motor function in people with chronic stroke

Shamay S. Ng, Hannah H. Ng, Kimmy M. Chan, Julia C. Lai, Ann K. To , Cindy W. Yeung
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong (SAR), China. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1086


Objective: To investigate: (i) the intra-rater, inter-rater and test-retest reliability of the 12-step stair test; (ii) its correlation with other stroke-specific impairments; and (iii) the cut-off scores that best discriminate patients with stroke from healthy elderly subjects.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: University-based rehabilitation centre.
Subjects: Thirty-five subjects with chronic stroke and 29 healthy elderly subjects.
Methods: The 12-step ascend and descend test was administered along with the Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment for the lower extremities (FMA-LE), hand-held dynamometer measurements of hip abductor and knee extensor muscle strength, the Five Times Sit to Stand Test (FTSTST), assessment using the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), activities-specific balance confidence scale (ABC) assessment, the 10-metre walk test, and the Timed “Up and Go” (TUG) test.
Results: The 12-step ascend and descend test showed excellent intra-rater, inter-rater and test-retest reliability. The test was positively correlated with FTSTST times, gait velocity, and TUG times, and negatively correlated with FMA-LE scores and BBS scores. A test performance of 15. 22 seconds or less was shown reliably to discriminate healthy elderly subjects from stroke survivors.
Conclusion: The 12-step ascend and descend test is a reliable clinical test that is inexpensive and easy to implement, and is useful for assessing the stair-walking ability of patients with chronic stroke.

Lay Abstract


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