This article covers the suitability to measure gait-parameters via a Laser Range Scanner (LRS) that was placed below a chair during the walking phase of the Timed Up&Go Test in a cohort of 92 older adults (mean age 73.5). The results of our study demonstrated a high concordance of gait measurements using a LRS in comparison to the reference GAITRite walkway. Most of aTUG’s gait parameters demonstrate a strong correlation coefficient with the GAITRite, indicating high measurement accuracy for the spatial gait parameters. Measurements of velocity had a correlation coefficient of 99%, which can be interpreted as an excellent measurement accuracy. Cadence showed a slightly lower correlation coefficient of 96%, which is still an exceptionally good result, while step length demonstrated a correlation coefficient of 98% per leg and stride length with an accuracy of 99% per leg. In addition to confirming the technical validation of the aTUG regarding its ability to measure gait parameters, we compared results from the GAITRite and the aTUG for several parameters (cadence, velocity, and step length) with results from the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence-(ABC)-Scale assessments. With confidence coefficients for BBS and velocity, cadence and step length ranging from 0.595 to 0.798 and for ABC ranging from 0.395 to 0.541, both scales demonstrated only a medium-sized correlation. Thus, we found an association of better walking ability (represented by the measured gait parameters) with better balance (BBC) and balance confidence (ABC) overall scores via linear regression. This results from the fact that the BBS incorporates both static and dynamic balance measures and thus, only partly reflects functional requirements for walking. For the ABC score, this effect was even more pronounced. As this is to our best knowledge the first evaluation of the association between gait parameters and these balance scores, we will further investigate this phenomenon and aim to integrate further measures into the aTUG to achieve an increased sensitivity for balance ability.
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