PURPOSE: Remediation of gait problems is a key feature of neurological physiotherapy We aimed to investigate the inter-rater reliability and agreement of the Six Minute Walk Test (6MWT) and Ten Meter Walk Test (10MWT), at comfortable walking speed, in hospitalized acute ischemic stroke patients.
METHOD: Forty acute first-time patients with brain stem or hemispheric ischemic stroke aged 67.4 ± 12.5 (SD), able to walk with or without an assistive device, were tested by one of three physiotherapists. Test-retest reliability was evaluated using a one-way random effects single measures model (1,1) absolute agreement-type Interclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC). Agreement was evaluated using the Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) and Smallest Detectable Change (SDC).
RESULTS: Both tests demonstrated good reliability; ICC1,1 0.83 (CI 95% 0.70-0.90) (6MWT) and 0.76 (CI 95% 0.59-0.87) (10MWT). The 6MWT-SEM was 27.2 m (m) and the SDC was 75.4 m. The 10MWT-SEM was 0.36 meters per second (m/s) and the SDC was 1.0 m/s.
CONCLUSION: Both tests demonstrated good inter-rater reliability, confirming their discriminative ability on a group of hospitalized first-time acute ischemic stroke patients. However, the measurement error was large for both tests, which is likely due to spontaneous neurological recovery and stress in the acute phase severely affecting the individual-level agreement estimate.