Mobility is a key priority for stroke survivors. Worldwide consensus of standardized outcome instruments for measuring mobility recovery after stroke is an essential milestone to optimize the quality of stroke rehabilitation and recovery studies and to enable data synthesis across trials.
Using a standardized methodology, which involved convening of 13 worldwide experts in the field of mobility rehabilitation, consensus was established through an a priori defined survey-based approach followed by group discussions. The group agreed on balance- and mobility-related definitions and recommended a core set of outcome measure instruments for lower extremity motor function, balance and mobility, biomechanical metrics, and technologies for measuring quality of movement.
Selected measures included the Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment lower extremity subscale for motor function, the Trunk Impairment Scale for sitting balance, and the Mini Balance Evaluation System Test (Mini-BESTest) and Berg Balance Scale (BBS) for standing balance. The group recommended the Functional Ambulation Category (FAC, 0–5) for walking independence, the 10-meter Walk Test (10 mWT) for walking speed, the 6-Minute Walk Test (6 MWT) for walking endurance, and the Dynamic Gait Index (DGI) for complex walking. An FAC score of less than three should be used to determine the need for an additional standing test (FAC < 3, add BBS to Mini-BESTest) or the feasibility to assess walking (FAC < 3, 10 mWT, 6 MWT, and DGI are “not testable”). In addition, recommendations are given for prioritized kinetic and kinematic metrics to be investigated that measure recovery of movement quality of standing balance and walking, as well as for assessment protocols and preferred equipment to be used.
The present recommendations of measures, metrics, technology, and protocols build on previous consensus meetings of the International Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Alliance to guide the research community to improve the validity and comparability between stroke recovery and rehabilitation studies as a prerequisite for building high-quality, standardized “big data” sets. Ultimately, these recommendations could lead to high-quality, participant-specific data sets to aid the progress toward precision medicine in stroke rehabilitation.