To compare the degree of gait symmetry of chronic poststroke fallers with that of nonfallers during level walking using triaxial accelerometry.
In this cross-sectional study, a total of 14 patients with chronic stroke were recruited from a community hospital from February 2015 to July 2016. Patient characteristics, including the number of falls in the previous 12 months, were obtained from medical records. The Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and timed up and go (TUG) test were used at the onset of the study. Triaxial accelerometers were attached to the back and bilateral lower extremities of each subject with sampling rates of 120 Hz. The cross-correlation between the acceleration signals of the affected and unaffected feet was measured to assess the degree of gait symmetry. The triaxial acceleration signals of the 5 consecutive and bilateral strides from the middle of each trial were processed to measure the cross-correlation and time delay (Ts) between the magnitude of the acceleration vector of the affected and unaffected foot.
After controlling for possible confounding factors, the mixed-effect models showed that cross-correlation was significantly higher among nonfallers than fallers (β = −0.093; standard error [SE] = 0.029; P-value = 0.002), and that the Ts was significantly longer among fallers than nonfallers (β = −1.900; SE = 0.719; P-value = 0.011).
Cross-correlation and Ts between the affected and unaffected lower extremities may be useful indicators to distinguish poststroke fallers from nonfallers.