Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gait Speed Might Be Considered a new Vital Sign

A report from Dr. Stephanie Studenski of the University of Pittsburg showed that gait speed correlated quite well with expected years of life in patients 65 years of age and older. Gait speed is measured by patients walking at their usual rate from a standing start for 6-8 feet indoors. All that is needed is a walkway of 4 meters and a stopwatch. The rate that corresponds to a median life expectancy is 0.8 meters per second. The measured range was from 0.4 to 1.4 meters per second. Those whose gait speed was 1.2 meters per second or higher had “exceptional” life expectancy. Those whose gait speed is reduced are then targeted with more concentrated preventive measures. This vital sign appears to be as predictive as body mass index, blood pressure, and family history. Welcome to the medicine of the future.

See JAMA 2010(click here);305:50-8.

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