The reliability of the quantitative timed up and go test (QTUG) measured over five consecutive days under single and dual-task conditions in community dwelling older adults

Erin Smith, Lorcan Walsh, Julie Doyle, Barry Greene, Catherine Blake
Gait & Posture 2016, 43: 239-44
The timed up and go (TUG) test is a commonly used assessment in older people with variations including the addition of a motor or cognitive dual-task, however in high functioning older adults it is more difficult to assess change. The quantified TUG (QTUG) uses inertial sensors to detect test and gait parameters during the test. If it is to be used in the longitudinal assessment of older adults, it is important that we know which parameters are reliable and under which conditions. This study aims to examine the relative reliability of the QTUG over five consecutive days under single, motor and cognitive dual-task conditions. Twelve community dwelling older adults (10 females, mean age 74.17 (3.88)) performed the QTUG under three conditions for five consecutive days. The relative reliability of each of the gait parameters was assessed using intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC 3,1) and standard error of measurement (SEM). Five of the measures demonstrated excellent reliability (ICC>0.70) under all three conditions (time to complete test, walk time, number of gait cycles, number of steps and return from turn time). Measures of variability and turn derived parameters demonstrated weak reliability under all three conditions (ICC=0.05-0.49). For the most reliable parameters under single-task conditions, the addition of a cognitive task resulted in a reduction in reliability suggesting caution when interpreting results under these conditions. Certain sensor derived parameters during the QTUG test may provide an additional resource in the longitudinal assessment of older people and earlier identification of falls risk.

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