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Reliability and validity of bilateral ankle accelerometer algorithms for activity recognition and walking speed after stroke.

  • Author(s): Dobkin, Bruce H;
  • Xu, Xiaoyu;
  • Batalin, Maxim;
  • Thomas, Seth;
  • Kaiser, William
  • et al.

Background and purpose

Outcome measures of mobility for large stroke trials are limited to timed walks for short distances in a laboratory, step counters and ordinal scales of disability and quality of life. Continuous monitoring and outcome measurements of the type and quantity of activity in the community would provide direct data about daily performance, including compliance with exercise and skills practice during routine care and clinical trials.


Twelve adults with impaired ambulation from hemiparetic stroke and 6 healthy controls wore triaxial accelerometers on their ankles. Walking speed for repeated outdoor walks was determined by machine-learning algorithms and compared to a stopwatch calculation of speed for distances not known to the algorithm. The reliability of recognizing walking, exercise, and cycling by the algorithms was compared to activity logs.


A high correlation was found between stopwatch-measured outdoor walking speed and algorithm-calculated speed (Pearson coefficient, 0.98; P=0.001) and for repeated measures of algorithm-derived walking speed (P=0.01). Bouts of walking >5 steps, variations in walking speed, cycling, stair climbing, and leg exercises were correctly identified during a day in the community. Compared to healthy subjects, those with stroke were, as expected, more sedentary and slower, and their gait revealed high paretic-to-unaffected leg swing ratios.


Test-retest reliability and concurrent and construct validity are high for activity pattern-recognition Bayesian algorithms developed from inertial sensors. This ratio scale data can provide real-world monitoring and outcome measurements of lower extremity activities and walking speed for stroke and rehabilitation studies.

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