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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2015 April;51(2):171-84


lingua: Inglese

Does gait analysis change clinical decision-making in poststroke patients? Results from a pragmatic prospective observational study

Ferrarin M., Rabuffetti M., Bacchini M., Casiraghi A., Castagna A., Pizzi A., Montesano A.

IRCCS Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation, Milan, Italy


BACKGROUND: Gait analysis (GA) was demonstrated to change presurgical planning and improve gait outcomes in children with Cerebral Palsy. GA is often used also to assess walking capability of poststroke subjects, although its influence in the clinical management of these patients has not yet been established.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of GA on clinical decision-making in adult chronic poststroke patients.
DESIGN: Pragmatic prospective observational study.
SETTING: Rehabilitation hospital, both outpatients and inpatients.
POPULATION: Forty-nine patients (age: 53.3±14.5 years) who had had a cerebrovascular accident 35.2±26.4 months before and were referred to the gait analysis service.
METHODS: Recommendations of therapeutic treatments before and after the analysis of GA data were compared, together with the confidence level of recommendations on a 10-point scale. Frequency of changes of post-GA vs pre-GA recommendations were computed for each recommendation type: surgery, botulinum toxin (BT), orthotic management and physiotherapy.
RESULTS: Based on the analysis of GA data, 71% of poststroke subjects had their treatment planning changed in some components. Indeed, 73% of patients with indications for surgery had their surgical planning changed; 81%, 37% and 32% had, respectively, their BT, orthotic and physiotherapy planning changed. Confidence level of recommendations increased significantly after GA, in both the whole group of patients (from 6.7±1.4 to 8.7±0.6, P<0.01) and the subgroup whose recommendations had not changed (7.0±1.5 vs. 8.8±0.4, P<0.01).
CONCLUSION: GA significantly influences the therapeutic planning and reinforces decision-making for chronic poststroke patients. Further work should be done to better translate GA results into indications for specific physiotherapy.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The use of GA as a tool to better define the rehabilitation planning in post-stroke patients should be fostered, particularly when surgery or botulinum toxin are considered and/or the prescription of orthoses is hypothesised.

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